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Southern Virginia University

Alumni, Student Teach Youth in Summer FAIR

July 9, 2013


How do our students and alumni spend the lovely days of summertime? One student and two graduates of Southern Virginia University are using their summer to teach children as part of the program, Summer Fine Arts in Rockbridge (FAIR), based in Lexington, Va.

According to the organization’s website, Summer FAIR has “provided summer arts enrichment for rising first-graders through adults” for more than forty years.

“It is a joy to share messages through acting and singing, it’s a labor of love,” said Richard Templeman (’13), the director of the Summer FAIR musical, “Seussical Jr.” “Together with the students we will have a fantastic show!”

Templeman, who majored in theatre at Southern Virginia, will also teach two theatre classes for youth. Michael Taylor (’12), who graduated from Southern Virginia with a major in music, will serve as the music director for “Seussical Jr,” teaching participants the musical’s songs and providing piano accompaniment during rehearsals and performances.

“I’m really excited to be involved in another production of ‘Seussical,’” said Taylor. “I was one of the Wickersham Brothers in Southern Virginia’s 2009 production, and I fell in love with the show. Now I get to share my love of this show with talented young people, and help them introduce it to a new audience.”

Christian Tarin, a liberal arts major on the elementary education teacher licensure track at Southern Virginia, will teach a children’s drama class at Summer FAIR. According to the Summer FAIR website, the class will help children learn “how to embrace acting through theatre games and improv situations… the basics of blocking and stage direction… and [how to] feel at home in the spotlight.”

“I love teaching theatre to kids, because you can see their confidence grow and you can see them become more comfortable with themselves,” said Tarin. “At the end of the day, if I helped them even a little bit to reach their potential, I know that I did something worthwhile.”

This summer is Tarin’s first year teaching a class in Summer FAIR, while Taylor and Templeman both have taught or directed for the program in previous years.

“One of my favorite things about teaching is watching student artists improve and grow beyond their limitations and apprehensions,” said Taylor. “It’s great to see them take risks and put themselves out there so that they can really communicate something with their audience.”

Templeman brings a rich background of theatrical experience with him to his classes. He has performed in a number of musicals and plays at Washington and Lee University, Brigham Young University–Idaho, Southern Virginia University and Hollins University, as well as in the Lexington-based exit, pursued theatre company.

Taylor, who has been playing piano since he was six years old, said that he loves “music and theatre as separate arts, but when you bring them together with dance and all the technical aspects of a show, you get a magical result that’s unlike anything else.”

(Post by Hannah Benson Rodriguez ’13. Photo from

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