Revitalizing the Arts in Emery County Part IV
Looking back at the arts in the history of the county
|The Central High band plays at the school.|
In the final article on looking back at the arts in the history of the county, we highlight the town of Castle Dale.
In Elmo Geary's "A Study of Dramatics in Castle Valley from 1875-1925," he tells us, "Centrally located in the heart of Castle Valley, the town of Castle Dale was the site of the institution of higher learning established by the church to serve all of Castle Valley-the Emery Stake Academy. Community dramatics in the Mormon pattern flourished in this community."
A few plays were staged before the Castle Dale Dramatic Company was formed in 1890. The Castle Dale Dramatic Company, with a theatre in which to perform, became active after 1890. It was David Evans, a Welch immigrant who possessed a fine musical and dramatic talent who became the director of the dramatic troupe.
Members of the Castle Dale Brass Band, led by the Evans brothers, participated in dramatic shows, and vocal and instrumental performers furnished music and specialty numbers between acts. Before a show, the members of the band would frequently load a reed organ into a buggy and serenade the town to arouse enthusiasm.
Stage lighting was produced by kerosene lamps and candles in early productions. Stage scenery in the Social Hall was never plentiful. Only two or three scene changes were possible with the available scenery.
|The Academy Building in Castle Dale was the place of music and learning and was owned by the LDS church.|
The Emery Stake Academy included music and elocution courses in its curriculum, and in addition, sponsored extra-curricular theatrical productions. Often gigantic cooperative enterprises requiring the combined effort of the entire faculty and numerous students and townspeople were produced. Again we find the great love and enthusiasm for the arts the people who settled Emery County possessed.
The principal of the Emery Stake Academy in 1911-12 was King Driggs, a writer and musician as well as educator, also father of the King family. He directed the production of his original opera, "The Navajo Princess."
In 1922 the LDS Church terminated its sponsorship of the Academy and turned the building over to the Emery County School District for use as a high school known as Central High School. The high school carried on the tradition of fine plays and operas. Outstanding directors were Nola Noble, Maggie Rowe, Elmo G. Geary, E.A. Nielson, Dean J. Isbell, and W.W. Brady.
The final article I write regarding revitalizing the arts in Emery County will focus on "Where are we now and where are we going in the future with the arts in Emery County?" We, as an arts council hope to inspire the citizens of Emery County today to give support to the arts in our county. If you are interested in supporting the effort of the Emery County Arts Council we would like to hear from you.
Email responses to Karen at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 384-2896.