Across the Davis School District, theater productions are growing in popularity.
"The interest here is astounding," said Bill Davies, a member of the board at Rodgers Memorial Theatre. "There are probably more 13-15-year-olds per capita taking voice lessons in Davis County than anywhere else in the country."
"This sense of a theater community has trickled down to the junior high and elementary schools," Davies said. "Davis County is fertile soil for that kind of vision."
And the vision of youth theater is prominent in local elementary schools.
"There is a great musical theater program at the high schools," said Sherryl Cazier, who has directed musicals at Centerville Junior High for seven years, "and kids want to be involved in that."
Producing a school musical involves a lot of work, especially for parents and other volunteers who spend many hours directing, sewing, painting, choreographing, and
controlling crowds of kids.
So why do they do it?
"It's so fun!" Cazier said. "Watching kids grow and discover abilities they didn't know they had is very rewarding."
Addie Holman, another teacher, agrees with Cazier.
"I started teaching a choir class at Centerville Elementary and thought it would be fun," Holman said. "I saw how much the kids loved it and learned from it."
"I love to see the growth and development and the discovery of talent," Diana DeFriez a sixth-grade teacher said. "Kids learn they can do more than they think they can do."
DeFriez finds that what students learn from school productions is endless.
"They learn work, cooperation, patience, trust of each other, not to mention dancing, singing, and technical stuff."
One mom who has helped with shows every year says she does it for her children.
"My daughter was so eager to perform and there just weren't a lot of opportunities out there for her, so I asked Mrs. DeFriez if I could do a play with her class so my daughter could be in a show. And it turned out to be a barrel of fun."
Mother Robin Mortensen says that theater helps kids blossom.
"It helps kids who don't have a niche find a niche."
DeFriez recalls the father of one student who approached her with tears in his eyes and told her, "You'll never know what this has done for my son."
"Kids get involved and find out they enjoy it," Cazier said. "They get kudos from their peers [when they perform]. There's nothing that builds self-esteem like that."
One parent volunteer tells of a student who had reading difficulties.
"We were doing the train scene in Music Man and this boy could barely read his part, let alone say it in perfect rhythm," she said. "He worked very hard to get it right and by the time he performed it, he didn't miss a beat. That, for me, was one of the greatest moments I've experienced in the theater."
It seems there are many "great moments" happening all over Davis County. And the consensus seems to be that the hard work is worth it. Theater is proving to be beneficial not only for the kids, but for the entire community as well.