‘Reach 4 It’: A musical with something to say for us all

Just three shows left for “Reach 4 It.”

The Hood River Valley High School Performing Arts Department and writer director Mark Steighner deserve a big round of applause for this moving, humorous, thought-provoking story.

Individual characters’ feelings and motivations are rendered clearly in this story of how a group of strangers changes from competitors to friends in the context of an ego-laden televised talent show.

Not that everyone chooses a path of friendship and virtue, and there is no formulaic wrapping up of conflict and disappointment. But the audience is left with a sense of hope.

Further, the overall production is a true group effort, a product of hard work not just by the student performers but also students and adults backstage and handling lights, sound, costumes, and other critical aspects of the musical.

Steighner wrote the musical this summer. It’s a blend of satire and drama, shown through a lens of current events and our modern “idol” worship of sudden stardom.

“I was fairly apprehensive about how people would react to it, that it would make sense to people; but people seem to like it,” Steighner said.

In a way, the community has a luxury with an HRVHS musical: the comparatively long run 10 shows is about seven more than are staged at most high schools.

If you’ve seen the show once, you might consider attending again, Friday and Saturday nights and Saturday afternoon.

With any production you never really see the same show twice. Characters evolve and, since this is Steighner’s own original, he and the actors can make any changes they want from one show to the next.

“Any show is a work in progress, and if it isn’t there’s something wrong,” Steighner said.

He tells his young performers to put everything they can into every performance, no matter the size of the audience. “You never know who you’re going to touch or reach in that little audience. It could be that person’s moment to really connect with something and make a difference,” Steighner said.

In short, as the theme song says, “You’ve-got-to-got-to-got-to reach for it.”

In turn, the community can make a difference in the lives of the community members, students included, who have dedicated so many hours to the production.

Check out “Reach 4 It.” It’s a fun and rewarding night of theater.

Flags lowered: Officer Robert Libke

Gov. John Kitzhaber has ordered all flags at public institutions to be flown at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Thursday, Nov. 14, in honor of Officer Robert Libke.

“I ask Oregonians across the state to join me in honoring the bravery and sacrifice of Officer Robert Libke,” said Kitzhaber. “Though we mourn the loss of Officer Libke, and send our prayers to his family and friends, we know that his courage and deep commitment to Oregon City will not be forgotten.”

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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