Sunday, August 28, 2016

UAM Professor to Lecture at Drew County Historical Meeting

           MONTICELLO, AR — Dr. John Dennis, assistant professor in the School of Forestry and Natural Resources at the University of Arkansas at Monticello, will discuss notes and field plats from an 1815 survey of what would become the state of Arkansas during a joint meeting of the Tunican Chapter of the Arkansas Archeological Society and the Drew County Historical Society.
            The meeting, which is free and open to the public, will be held September 6 at 6:30 p.m. in the Conference Room of the Chamberlin Forest Resources Complex, the first in a series of joint meetings between the two groups scheduled for the fall semester.
            Dennis, who teaches surveying and spatial information systems, and fellow faculty member Tom Jacobs, recently completed a project to pull together information from different locations to create a clearinghouse for surveyors to provide easy access to data that used to be scattered among courthouses all over the state. The first phase was to geo-reference the original plats from the General Land Office (GLO), attaching latitude and longitude information to each plat. In total, 1,716 plats were geo-referenced to the township and range corners for Arkansas provided to the Arkansas Geographic Information Systems Office. The second phase involved linking the transcribed field notes to each plat.
            Beginning in 1815, surveyors contracted by the GLO began the tedious process of surveying the lands of Arkansas.  They reordered their work along with descriptions of the lands in books, which were commonly referred to as field notes.  The majority of these surveys were completed by the mid-1850’s and it was in the 1930’s that the field notes were transcribed as part of a Works Progress Administration (WPA) program.  “While these surveys still continue today, having access to the invaluable resources in one location and geographically linked to their respective location is unprecedented,” said Dennis.  “It is these field notes that are an indispensable record for the land surveyor as well as anyone else who is interested in the history of Arkansas and the United States.”
            Dennis holds a bachelor’s degree from Louisiana State as well as a master’s in anthropology and Ph.D. in environmental dynamics from UA-Fayetteville.
            The Tunican Chapter of the Arkansas Archeological Society is a group of people interested in the archeology and history of Arkansas. Members work with the UAM Research Station of the Arkansas Archeological Survey to document and preserve Arkansas's cultural heritage and to foster and encourage interest in the preservation of sites and artifacts. The Drew County Historical Society is interested in preserving the heritage of Drew County. Together the two organizations will hold a monthly speaker series on the first Tuesday of each month through the Fall 2016 semester. These events are also sponsored by UAM’s School of Social and Behavioral Sciences and the UAM Research Station of the Arkansas Archeological Survey.
            For more information, contact Dr. Jodi Barnes of the Arkansas Archeological Survey at (870) 460-1290.

PHOTO CAPTION:
UAM Assistant Professor John Dennis, who will speak to a joint meeting of the Drew County Historical Society and the Tunican Chapter of the Arkansas Archeological Survey, helps a student in his surveying class.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Y Holds Healthy Kids Day

The Donald W. Reynolds YMCA of Warren & Bradley County held its annual Healthy Kids Day/Dive-in-Movie on Friday, August 19th.  Healthy Kids Day/Dive-In-Movie is a free event that the Y does each year to help promote  physical activity and family fun time in the community.  This year, the Y added an extra “Walkability” component: a two mile walk.  At Healthy Kids Day, the children swam, toured an EASI ambulance, a police car, and a fire truck.  Just before dark, many in attendance came together for a two-mile victory walk.   The walk started at the YMCA swimming pool, lead down Ash Street, and continued towards the city park.  Photos will show where several children also sampled the outdoor fitness equipment at the city park. Those that completed the victory walk were awarded finisher metals. The YMCA of the USA is placing an emphasis on the importance of walking in fitness. By doing the victory walk, the DWR YMCA is eligible for a $2000 grant.  After the walk, Dive-In-Movie began.  Swimmers watched the new movie “Angry Birds” while continuing to swim. There were about 75 children and adults in attendance this year at Healthy Kids Day/Dive-In-Movie.  Thank you for all of those that made this event possible.  We would like to say a special “Thank You” to EASI, Warren Police Department, Warren Fire Department, and the Warren Chamber of Commerce. The Donald W. Reynolds YMCA looks forward to next year and hopes to grow the event even more.  


Birth Announcement: Addison Leigh Tullos

Addison Leigh Tullos was born July 29, 2016 at Medical Center of So Ark in El Dorado, AR to Mallory Dean Benson of Hermitage and Joshua Hunter Tullos of White Hall.  Addison was greeted by family and friends at the time of her birth.  She weighed 6 pounds and was 18 inches long.  Her maternal grandparents are James Benson and Melynda of Dubach, LA and Deannie Gardner of Hermitage and the late Jim Gardner. Maternal great grandparents are James Benson, Sr.  and the late Nolene Benson of Junction City and the late J.C. and Mary Scroggins of Hermitage.  Paternal grandparents are Micheal Tullos of Warren and Felicia Tullos of White Hall.  Paternal Great Grandparents are Betty Allen and the late Charles Allen, Jerry Tullos, Crystola Tullos, Shirley Green and  And great-great grandmother Joanne Tullos.  

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Cooper, Kinsley, Lucy, and Nathan are on Their Way!


Congratulations Cooper Wagnon on reaching 700 books in our 1000 Books Before Kindergarten Program! Way to go and keep up the hard work!!

Congratulations Kinsley Robinson on reaching your first goal, 100 books in our 1000 Books Before Kindergarten Program! Way to go and keep up the hard work!!
Congratulations Lucy Denton on reaching 500 books in our 1000 Books Before Kindergarten Program! You are half way to meeting your goal!! Way to go and keep up the hard work!!
Nathan Jones completed his first challenge in our FREE Passport Reading Program! Way to go Nathan!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Memorials Given to Library

Warren Branch Library
Memorials
In Memory Of: Given By:

Myrtle Tillman David & Kim Forrest
Julie Donnelly David & Kim Forrest
Scotty McDiarmid Reed Pat Rauls
Erin Warner Ledbetter Buddy & Mary McCaskill
Joye Splawn Tommy & Cathy Richardson
Erin Warner Ledbetter Ms. Mildred Brazeal
Travis L. Adcock Sr. Warren Bank & Trust
Beulah Mae Hall Warren Bank & Trust
Daniel W. Orton Warren Bank & Trust
Susan Loomis Carter Warren Bank & Trust
Curtis Dale Klines Warren Bank & Trust
Mary Belle McClain Parnell Warren Bank & Trust
Grover Ross Broome Warren Bank & Trust
Joyce Ann Lowry Warren Bank & Trust
Bernice Gates Adams Warren Bank & Trust
Myrtle G. Tillman Warren Bank & Trust
Ouita Jo Parker Reap Warren Bank & Trust
Charles Raymond “Bear” Lasiter Warren Bank & Trust
Neil Thomason Warren Bank & Trust
Robert R. Young Warren Bank & Trust
Rosana McEwen Shelby Warren Bank & Trust
Renna Adams Wherry Warren Bank & Trust
John Robert “Johnny” Haynes Warren Bank & Trust
Phyllis Crutchfield Selby Warren Bank & Trust
Julie Elaine Trussell Donnelly Warren Bank & Trust
Scotty McDiarmid Reed Warren Bank & Trust
Donna Jean Ross Warren Bank & Trust
Mary Love Jobe Mitchell Warren Bank & Trust
Henry Wilson Jones Warren Bank & Trust
James William McClain Jr. Warren Bank & Trust
Roy Sisson Warren Bank & Trust
Harry Loyd Grider Warren Bank & Trust
Billy Edward Temple Warren Bank & Trust
Mamie Henry Curry Warren Bank & Trust
Ola Jean (Hilson) Carlin Warren Bank & Trust
Karen Mae Boyette McDougald Warren Bank & Trust
Glendola Pinson Warren Bank & Trust
Mrs. L. Y. “Bonnie” Brown Warren Bank & Trust
Onnie Estelle Sloan White Warren Bank & Trust
Charles “Buck” Burkhart Warren Bank & Trust
Linda Diane Boyette Lackey Warren Bank & Trust
B. K. Harris Warren Bank & Trust
Rebecca Leann Hill Warren Bank & Trust
Sybil Frances Dawkins Morgan Warren Bank & Trust
Emma Jean Adams Hood Warren Bank & Trust
Joye Johnson Splawn Warren Bank & Trust
Morris Dean Bryant Warren Bank & Trust

Bobby Neal Temple Sr. Warren Bank & Trust

Girl Scouts Have Open Spots


Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Pastime – Lumberjack Band Practices

By Maylon Rice

          It is always this time of the year, I wake up (at age 61 now, Yikes!) with the un-natural fear that I am late for band practice.
          Yes, Lumberjack Marching Band practices.
          I am panicked, it is almost 5:45 a.m. in the semi-darkness when I wake up and I have the constant fear that can I make it by the 6 a.m. roll call.
So I recall hurling myself in my 1962 Chevy truck down Cherry Street along the Westside of Warren High’s complex to the ramshackle band room. I am going break neck speed double-clutching the quick shifting that poor old tired four speeds Chevy for all she was worth.
You can’t be late.
There are dreaded demerits at stake.
          Already cars, trucks, bikes and a few motorcycles are line out on both sides of Cherry Street.
The only light shine from the double doors of the old band room – a combination of a pair of war surplus shacks cobbled together by the Warren High School Board’s effort to have a free standing band room just across the street from the tiny house where Curry and Mary Lou Martin, and their three children, Curry III (Marty), Shelly and Lucinda all lived.
          The porch light on the Martin’s residence flicks on. Now I am in a footrace with Curry Martin and his Safari style pitch helmet and ever present press-board clip board to see if I can squeeze past him into one of the two separate doors to the band room, before he does.
          Once inside, Martin immediately pops up on the elevated conductor’s platform between these two doors and begins a terse alphabetical roll call.
          I am so glad my last name (how to addressed 99% of the band members) begins down the alphabet. If there is no “here” or “present” after he calls your name – an eerie silence follows with the scratching of an “X” on this clipboard by his every present mechanical pencil from his shirt pocket.
          So I scurry into one of the side rooms (practice rooms and music storage) to search for my wet, grass and lime striping stained tennis shoes.
After finding one in a pile of penny loafers, worn out Chuck Taylor high-tops and some discarded lace up shoes, I find the missing shoe for my pair.
          Often I have gone out to 6 a.m. marching band practice with one of my shoes and heaven’s knows whose other shoe I was wearing.
          As roll call is being conducted, mimeographed instructions of our newest marching routines are being disseminated by the like of band leaders like Wayne Warren, Kerry Pennington, Charlie Reynolds, Blake Marsh, Wallace Marsh, Johnny McBee, Marty Martin, the late Bill Brown and a flurry of others.
          The sheets read to the novice like a CIA code.
There are lines, diagrams, X’s on the sheet with numbers and letters. We will spend the next few weeks marching and drilling with these uniquely mathematical and design sheets measuring each step and in which direction you are to travel in a five-minute, 30 second band halftime show.
          Early on in the 6 a.m. practice as the sun comes up, we file outside stand on the WHS Lumberjack practice field (in front of the old weight lifting gym building and behind the band room). And get our pre-dawn bearings.
The ground is so hard packed with our constant marching and later in the day two sessions of gridders blocking and tackling one another further compressing the soils hardness and grave-like appearance, it is like being out on Cherry Street.
          We only march on the old O. O. Axley Field about a week before our first football game – not one minute before.
          After the first week of marching practice we drilled out motions with those sheets in our hands. And there were always instructions yelled by Martin and his assistants to keep us in line. But if we got out of sync, well….
Out comes the whistle.
He tweets us every so many beats or steps as if to the music we will play later as we march.
          Somehow over the years, the band practices have been limited to outside horn play until the 9 a.m. hour.
          We drill for 90 minutes, about 6:30 to 8 a.m. when there is a mad scramble to available cars, truck, motorcycles and bikes to the nearest Wag-A-Bag (near the Kroger) or downtown to Wayne’s for anything you could eat, drink in less than 30 minutes and be back to the band room.
          We often left the marching field in those cruddy muddy shoes or often shedding the shoes at the cars to be barefoot on our quest for a soda pop break.
          Back in the band room, at 9 a.m. - out came the instruments. With some help from Ricky Green and Gene Reynolds, I have cobbled together a list of the John Phillip Sousa-type tunes the WHS Marching Lumberjacks played in the half-time show.
          I could only remember “British Eighth,” and “The Stars and Stripes Forever,” complete with the excellent piccolo solo by Lou Ann Reep and Regina Reep Jr., if the memory of this tune served me well today.
Other marching songs included: “King Size,” “Americans, We.” “The Washington Post March,” “Semper Fidelis,” “King Cotton,” “El Capitan.” “The Thunderer” filled the halftime menu.
Also, Gene Reynolds, pointed out we played “Ace High,” one year. It was, a new movie tune hit. Warren High has the march music first over such rival schools as Camden Fairview, Muscle Shoals, Ala., and others in the marching band world as the song was transcribed and picked up by ear from the one and only Marty Martin.
On the next Pastime, I’ll detail the switching of the school’s fight song and music we played in that terrific band stand at the north end of the stands in the old Axley field.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

4-H Sewing Club Partnered with Drew Memorial in the Port Pillow Project

The Bradley County 4-H Sewing Club partnered with Drew Memorial Hospital in the Port Pillow Drive for one of their annual community service projects.  Kathy Williams, 4-H volunteer, assisted with the project.  Participants included Charlee Carter, Michelle Carter, Kathy Williams, and Michaela Stanley.  The club made over 40 pillows and will donate them to the hospital.


Monday, August 8, 2016

Big Auction Conducted In Warren

Blackmon Auctions was in Warren Thursday August, 4th to sell property and equipment on the site of Deon Construction located on East Elm Street just east of Chestnut Street.  Land, buildings and multiple pieces of equipment including trucks and other heavy equipment was available to buy through a bidding process.  A  large crowd of potential buyers, both from the local area and from far distances, where on hand to bid on and purchase the many items for sale.

Deon Construction has been a major highway and bridge construction firm for a number of years.  It has been owned and operated by Deon Wolfe of Bradley County and is a company that traces its roots back to the late Buddy Wolfe of Warren.  Buddy Wolfe worked for many years for the late Sam Dixon, of Warren, who operated a large construction firm and was a major player in the Arkansas business world.

According to Deon Wolfe, he plans to work his cows for awhile.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Y Day Campers are at it Again!

The Donald W. Reynolds YMCA Day Campers are at it again! Each week during the summer months, the YMCA Day Camp has a different theme. The theme for last week was “Adventures in the World of Work”.  On Friday, the campers were encouraged to dress up as what they wanted to be when they grow up.  Some campers dressed as athletes, some as doctors & nurses, & some as business men/women.  Tyson Wheeler dressed up as a YMCA employee and said that he wants to work to the Y when he grows up.

(L to R)
Kelley Jarvis, Tyson Wheeler, Kayla Watkins


YMCA Day Campers dressed in attire to represent what they want to be when they grow up

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Warren Library Has Five Books by Local Author Sarah Daniell

Warren Branch Library is excited to announce that we now have five Young Adult Paperback books by local author, Sara Daniell, "An Unfortunate Journey", Anything Goes On A Friday NIght", "A Life Unexpected"-Holly Nather Book One, "Cohen's Tale"-Holly Nather Book Two,& “Daughter of a Monarch”-Holly Nather Book Three. She personally brought the books to us a couple of weeks ago and she will also be scheduling a teen writers workshop and book club to those that are interested! We are very excited and as soon as we have more details we will let you know!!

Bio:
Sara Daniell’s story started in the quiet little town of Cedarburg, Wisconsin until her dad’s job transferred him to Arkansas. She thought life would officially be over with that move, but to her surprise, Arkansas is where she found love, married her best friend and had her two amazing daughters.

For years, Sara was a closet writer. Something most knew nothing about. It wasn’t until her best friend and husband told her she needed to pursue what made her happy and to hide that for no one. So, with a deep breath and a beat up laptop, she did it.

Sara has made many close friends in the writing business and says it feels like a family more than anything else. She says she feels more confident in herself for pursuing what she loves and not letting the limited perceptions of others’ define who she is. She’s a go getter, a dream chaser, and if that makes her crazy, that’s fine with her.

Water Relay Teaches Y Day Campers

The Donald W. Reynolds YMCA Summer Day Campers participated in a Water Relay activity Monday, July 26th.  During the Water Relay, the students were to blow through a straw pushing a drop of water across a piece of wax paper.  The game teaches the students teamwork, sportsmanship, patience, and hand/eye coordination.  The summer is winding down but there is still time to get signed up for the AfterSchool program! Don’t let your child miss out on all the fun activities at the YMCA!

Day Campers Tour Veterans' Museum

The Donald W. Reynolds YMCA Day Camp students visited the Warren Veterans Museum Monday, July 26th.  While there, the students were able to tour the museum. They looked at pictures of the veterans and old war equipment and learned about their history.  We would like to say a special “Thank You” to Mr. McCaskill for giving our Day Campers the opportunity to visit the museum.


Thursday, July 28, 2016

Alivia and Arielle Are Getting Read Up Before Kindergarten

The Warren Branch Library says, "Congratulations to Alivia & Arielle Napier on reaching 300 books in our 1000 Books Before Kindergarten Program!! Keep up the hard work!!"


Sunday, July 24, 2016

Southeast Arkansas Political Animals Meet

Left to Right:  Rex Nelson and Dr. John Davis
A large gathering meet Wednesday July, 20th at Western Sizzling in Monticello for the latest episode of Southeast Arkansas Political Animals.  The speaker for the day was Rex Nelson who is Sr. vice president and director of corporate communications at Simmons First National Corp.  Mr. Nelson is a former news reporter, assistant to former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, a former head of the Delta Regional Authority and served as executive director of the private colleges of Arkansas.  He is the voice of the OBU Tigers football team and travels to Monticello yearly to act as Master of Ceremonies for the Weevil Sports Hall of Fame.  Mr. Nelson is a native of Arkadelphia  and is considered well versed in Arkansas politics.  He currently serves as chairman of the Little Rock Political Animals Club.

Mr. Nelson knew many of those in attendance personally and spent time visiting with everyone present before and after the program.  Mr. Nelson was introduced by Dr. John Davis professor of political science and director of governmental relations for UAM.

Rex talked about the revolutionary tilt in Arkansas politics since 2010 and the population shifts since the 1950's.  He specifically discussed the impact on southeast Arkansas.  He was asked what created the change politically and responded that while it had been a shift in progress for some time, that the election of President Obama seems to have accelerated the change.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Multiple Grammy-winner Amy Grant to perform at the El Dorado Municipal Auditorium

El Dorado – Main Street El Dorado will present six-time Grammy Award winner Amy Grant LIVE  Monday, September 19th at the El Dorado Municipal Auditorium (100 W 8th). The concert begins at 7:00 pm with doors opening at 6:00.

Amy Grant has built a long, successful career on music that matters. Ever since she burst on the scene as a fresh-faced teenager bringing contemporary Christian music to the forefront of American culture, the Nashville native gained a reputation for creating potent songs that examined life’s complexities with an open heart and keen eye. She became the first artist in Christian music to have a platinum record and went on to become a crossover sensation, her musical gifts transcending genre boundaries to make her a household name.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Lakeport Legacies to Feature “Revising the Mississippi Capitol”

The Mississippi State Capitol was constructed between 
1900 and 1903. Jennifer Baughn and  Brenda Davis will 
address claims that George Mann, the original architect for 
the Arkansas State Capitol, designed Mississippi's 
Capitol dome.
JONESBORO — Jennifer Baughn and Brenda Davis of the Mississippi Department of Archives & History (MDAH) will present “Revising the Mississippi Capitol” in the next installment of Lakeport Legacies, Thursday, July 28, at 6 p.m.

The monthly history talk will take place in the dining room of the Lakeport Plantation, 601 Highway 142, in Lake Village. Refreshments and conversation are at 5:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

Baughn, the chief architectural historian for MDAH, and Davis, curator of the State Capitol, will discuss recent findings that are forcing a reassessment of long-held “facts” about some of the building’s most prominent architectural features.

The pair worked together on a revised architectural tour guide for the State Capitol. It was during research for that piece that they first noticed inconsistencies in previous interpretations of the building’s history.

“Our presentation will answer questions like ‘is the stained glass made by Louis Comfort Tiffany’ and ‘why does the eagle face south?'” said Baughn. “And, are there really tunnels under the Capitol?” added Davis. Baughn and Davis will also address claims that George Mann, the original architect for the Arkansas State Capitol, designed Mississippi’s Capitol dome.

The Mississippi State Capitol is undergoing a two-year, $7.4 million repair and restoration project that will leave the 112-year-old structure in its best shape in decades. Priorities are to address longtime water leaks, replace materials damaged by water and weather, and clean the exterior.

The copper eagle atop the main dome has been gilded in gold leaf onsite, and 75 exterior stained glass windows have been removed, cleaned and repaired.

For more information and to RSVP, contact Dr. Blake Wintory, assistant director and facilities manager of Lakeport Plantation, at (870) 265-6031 or by email at bwintory@astate.edu.

Lakeport Legacies is a monthly history talk held on one of the last Thursdays at the Lakeport Plantation during the spring and summer months. Each month a topic from the Delta region is featured. The event is free and open to the public.

The Lakeport Plantation is an Arkansas State University Heritage Site. Constructed circa 1859, Lakeport is one of Arkansas's premier historic structures and still retains many of its original finishes and architectural details. Open to the public since 2007, Lakeport researches and interprets the people and cultures that shaped plantation life in the Mississippi River Delta, focusing on the Antebellum, Civil War and Reconstruction periods.

Arkansas Heritage Sites at Arkansas State University develops and operates historic properties of regional and national significance in the Arkansas Delta. A-State's Heritage Sites include the Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum and Educational Center, Southern Tenant Farmers Museum, Lakeport Plantation, the Historic Dyess Colony: Boyhood Home of Johnny Cash and Arkansas State University Museum.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

That's SMARTS!

Think about this number: 12,661. That’s how many children and teenagers in seven area counties had the opportunity to see live arts performances during this past school year thanks to the efforts of the Southeast Arkansas Concert Association’s SMARTS (Schools Majoring in the Arts) program. For a significant number of those 12,000-plus students, the presentations may have been their first or only opportunity to see live musicians, dancers and actors.

SMARTS reached kids in every school district as well as a number of preschool and homeschool students in Ashley, Bradley, Chicot, Cleveland, Desha, Drew and Lincoln counties. The youngest students had a chance to see performances of Rumpelstiltskin featuring puppets and wooden marionettes, while second-graders got to travel to the Arkansas Arts Center to see Peter Pan and the Arkansas Festival Ballet. All area third-graders, plus some other groups, had the opportunity to see the Seark Concert-staged community musical The Wizard of Oz. That show also featured a number of area children as performers. Fourth, fifth and sixth-graders were visited by the UAM Jazz Band Combo I and junior and senior high school students got shows from the full UAM Jazz Band.
“One of the things that we really wanted to focus on was providing opportunities for children to see art - music being played, dancers dancing and actors bringing stories and songs to life,” said outgoing Seark Concert Association President Susan Akin. “Through the generosity of our many sponsors and volunteers, and the cooperation of our local school districts and their dedicated personnel, we were able to do just that. We are grateful to everyone for their support, because we truly believe that early exposure to the arts may spark a passion to study music, dance or acting in some students and will help create an appreciation for those things in all students.”

Tammy Healey, principal of Central Elementary in Dumas, said that she initially feared her technology-savvy students might be uninterested in the Rumpelstiltskin puppet show - which didn’t feature any touchscreens or other digital features - but was thrilled to find that wasn’t the case. “They were totally engrossed in the performance and the puppeteer had them eating out of his hand,” she recalled. “I know for a fact that most of them had not seen a live performance like this and, as I tell parents all the time, experiences are the best thing to give your child. We can give them the academics, but they need experiences to pull from to write and think.”

More arts programming in area schools is just one aspect of Seark’s growth in recent years. The organization, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary, has had tremendous success with recent spring musicals featuring local adult and youth performers. Starting with Seussical in 2014, and moving on to Beauty and the Beast and The Wizard of Oz, Seark has been able to provide a performance opportunity for dozens of young persons just beginning to explore the arts.



Wizard of Oz - Munchkins Anna Claire Hollis, Lauren Cassels and Luke Scott, from left, perform in the recent Seark Concert Association production of The Wizard of Oz. More than 2,500 students from all over Southeast Arkansas got to see a performance of this musical as part of the concert association’s SMARTS (Schools Majoring in the Arts) program.

Beauty and the Beast - Mark McGraw was featured as Gaston in the Seark Concert Association’s 2015 production of Beauty and the Beast. The annual spring musical is just one of a number of ways area students are exposed to live music, theater and dance performances through Seark’s SMARTS (Schools Majoring in the Arts) program.

Puppets - The Seark Concert Association’s SMARTS (Schools Majoring in the Arts) program ensures that students in preschool through 12 grades have an opportunity to see live arts performances during the school year. Here, puppeteer Bob Walls, right, brings a show featuring marionettes to area elementary school children.