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By Sally Neel
Special to The PREVIEW
Curtains Up Pagosa! (formerly Music Boosters) is happy to announce its newest board member, Darcy DeGuise.
Those who attended this summer’s production of “Cinderella,” produced by Curtains Up Pagosa! (formerly Music Boosters), could not help but notice the funny, talented ball-of-fire actress who played the Fairy Godmother. Indeed, many who left the theater said, “Wow! Who is she? Where did she come from? Where has she been hiding?”
But Darcy DeGuise is no stranger to the students at Pagosa Springs High School. As a teacher of English literature and instructor for PHTV, (the media education class that teaches students how to use visual media to create journalistic videos, public service announcements, documentaries, as well as entertainment and instructive videos), Darcy has become synonymous with enthusiasm, energy and frank evaluation. She encourages her students with her wonderful sense of humor and her no-holds-barred frankness, pushing them to strive to do more than they thought they could do and be more than they thought they could be.
Darcy is also a trained musician with an extraordinary voice that can mesmerize and transfix her audience with its intensity and beauty. She readily answered the request from Dale Johnson and Sally Neel, artistic directors of Curtains Up Pagosa!, to assist with auditions for their musicals two years ago. She quickly proved her talents by assisting with vocal preparation, working back stage, and generally helping with whatever she was called upon to do.
“We couldn’t wait to put her on stage,” says Dale Johnson. “She obviously had an amazing talent that was just aching to be used! We cast her as Fairy Godmother in Cinderella and she took it from there. The comedic antics, the crazy dancing, the beautiful voice were all hers! With only a minimal amount of directing from me, she took the role to a completely different level. And what a delightful person to work with! She keeps us all laughing!” Darcy will show her more serious side as she plays the part of Dulcinea in the upcoming production of “Man of La Mancha,” scheduled for Dec. 12-15, at the high school auditorium.
Darcy made her appearance on the Pagosa scene at the very beginning of the 2010-2011 school year. She and her husband had lived in ever-growing, increasingly hectic metropolis of Denver where she taught school for nine years, and were looking for a new venue, a place on the Western Slope. She had applied for a position in several schools and, as luck would have it, one opened at PSHS two weeks before school started. She didn’t have much time to get her feet wet before plunging head first into a new and very busy school year. But plunge she did, and the result was a wonderful, vivacious new teacher at the school.
Darcy has big dreams for her students and the programs she directs. She is not content to go with the status quo. Rather, she wants excellence from her students, from the school, and from our community. She believes that Curtains Up Pagosa! can help her realize these goals.
“My arts program, PHTV, is part of FAMA (Fine Arts Magnet). Ultimately, I would love to replace our antiquated Apple eMacs with iMacs and a hard drive tower, so my class could share files and become more proficient (and efficient) with their editing skills. I think that my program has the potential to be a larger part of the PSHS daily operations when and if we update our technology. Having been involved with CUP (Curtains up Pagosa!) prior to becoming a board member, I am excited to see how my new involvement with CUP can help me grow my program while utilizing my students’ skills in creating quality video productions for CUP. I’d also like to grow CUP’s video archives of their musical productions.
“The most satisfying part of my job is working with the kids,” she said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s in a structured, academic class, on the weekend doing community service with Key Club, or working behind the scenes with them in the spring high school musical. I truly believe I am in the right profession, and that my calling is to inspire and push kids in the direction of their dreams, whatever they may be.”
Curtains Up Pagosa! is a community sponsored organization whose mission is to strengthen youth through the performing arts and adult volunteer mentorship. Revenues from their productions and fund raising events assist fine arts programs in the schools and provide college scholarships for students who plan to major in the arts. “We are very proud and excited to welcome Darcy to our executive board,” says Bill Stine, president of Curtains Up Pagosa! “We know that she will bring her boundless enthusiasm, her incredible talent, and her love for the kids to help us accomplish the goals we have as an organization.”