For Immediate Release — March 2, 2022 | Pacific
PACIFIC REGION — March 2, 2022 — More than 100 DoDEA Pacific high school students participated in the Far East Drama and Performing Arts February 17-18.
In accordance with local installation COVID-19 guidance, some districts were able to meet in person - a first since 2019 - for this hybrid intra-district event. Schools presented performances and participated in workshops, receiving performance feedback and attending workshops led by industry professionals. Additionally, through a partnership with the USO Pacific, the USO Show Troupe performed a set of "Best of Broadway” musicals virtually from The Nu Box Space at DeSotelle Studio, New York City.
USO Regional Operations Manager Marcie West and Entertainment Producer Janine Del Bello gathered veteran Broadway and USO performers under the musical direction of Emily Marshall to perform show-stopping selections from shows including The Lion King, Hamilton, and Wicked.
“I really enjoyed the USO Performance-getting to see live performers was incredible,” said Gabriella Gray, a student at Edgren Middle High School. Her co-star Mai Beisley added, “I liked being able to interact with other students and professionals… The USO performance was also very cool.”
Christian Brailsford, Gabrielle Harker, Joe Ogren, and Caroline Iliff brought characters to life through song and spent additional time with students answering questions and sharing stories from the stage. Encounters such as these increase the interest and value of our FE Drama event and encourage continued student participation.
“A tremendous thank you to the USO and their professional guests who started our event in such spectacular style,” said Greg Holladay, Yokota High School Drama Sponsor.
Professionals in drama and performing arts also joined the Far East program virtually from Hollywood and New York to conduct workshops.
“We learn first hand what the professionals went through,” said Tatiana Reyna, M.C. Perry High School student. “They are more knowledgeable because they're actually in that industry and have real stories to share — they are good at what they do, they can give us professional advice, they know what we are going through.”
“They bring expertise beyond that of the coaches at other schools, ”added Ben Lewis, Kinnick High School Drama Sponsor. “It also allows students to interact with theater professionals and understand what it would be like if the students pursued performing as a career.”
DoDEA plans, directs, coordinates, and manages pre-kindergarten through 12th grade education programs for school-aged children of Department of Defense personnel who would otherwise not have access to high-quality public education. DoDEA schools are located in Europe, the Pacific, Western Asia, the Middle East, Cuba, the United States, Guam, and Puerto Rico. DoDEA also provides support and resources to Local Educational Activities throughout the United States that serve children of military families.