Heather Bash was born and raised in Alamogordo, but her roots go deeper than that; both of her parents were born here too. Her grandparents were involved in founding the Alamogordo Music Theater, and as part of her family legacy, Heather got involved with local theater, too.
Heather had been a local teacher for ten years, teaching academic classes as well as drama . When Theresa Hamm, of the Flickinger Centerfor Performing Arts, approached her with the idea of starting a Children’s Music Theater, Heather jumped right on board.
Already involved with Alamogordo Music Theater, Heather was glad to be part of something aimed more directly at young people. “There’s just not a lot for kids in the way of theater, creative outlets, and music. We felt like this was a need in our community.” Their first show was a Christmas act called “The Child is Born.”
40 children came out to audition for that show, which in and of itself was a major accomplishment. “Auditioning is hard, you have to get up there by yourself and do stuff, and when kids are brave enough to do that, it’s really impressive.” And she was even more impressed this year when the number of kids auditioning for the Christmas show nearly doubled to over 70!
“Every time we have auditions, its keeps getting bigger and bigger.” That’s good news, and not just because kids in Alamogordo have more chances to do fun things. Youth theater is excellent in assisting development of young minds. According to the American Alliance for Theater and Education, involving children in drama classes or activities increases verbal and non verbal communication skills, increases SAT scores, lowers drop out rates, and can even help with learning disabilities. Heather saw improvements in confidence first hand when she compared kid’s first auditions to their second time around. “When they first came to audition they were these nervous kids, and when they came back in they were like Broadway stars.”
The Children’s Music Theater’s second show was “Narnia,” and was a huge hit. They are following that success up with another Christmas show, Alice in Christmasland, that will be on December 19th and 20th of this year. Heather plans to continue the music train with a summer production of “The Hobbit: The Musical,” as well as acting workshops for kids throughout the year.
Heather knows she couldn’t have done everything by herself. “So many local people have jumped on board to help out with this…the 100 Women Who Care in Alamogordo chose us as their latest non-profit, gifted us $13,000 and I can’t tell you what a blessing that was. I’m so grateful to the people who gave who continue to give.”
A program like this can have an enormous impact on the kids in the community, and at the same time, it is this amazing community that makes a program like this possible.
You can learn more about the Children’s Music Theater of Alamogordo on their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ChildrensMusicTheaterofAlamogordo/
We can’t wait to see what great show the kids in this town will put on next!