Sara Doncaster brings the local hills alive with music

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copyright the Chronicle October 18, 2017

 

by Elizabeth Trail

 

“Everyone has a voice,” Sara Doncaster says.

It’s that philosophy, on every level, that has propelled the Lake Region Union High School music teacher into the spotlight as this year’s runner-up Vermont Teacher of the Year.

At the most obvious interpretation, “Dr. D,” as her students call her, means that the human voice is the one musical instrument that every person carries around all the time.

But on a more subtle level, it explains a lot about Ms. Doncaster’s teaching.

She’s all about finding the unique talents within each of her students. And that goes back to her own girlhood, when the love of music led an Irasburg farm girl to Boston University, where she double-majored in music theory and composition and piano performance. Eventually she earned a PhD from Brandeis University in theory and composition.

Ms. Doncaster comes from a family that lived and breathed music as naturally as they made hay and milked cows.

Her father, Wayne Doncaster Sr., didn’t learn to read music until his forties, when he bought a steel guitar and took his first lessons. Until then, he played by ear. He had a fine country and western voice and perfect pitch, she said.

Her mother, Elizabeth Doncaster, grew up a city girl in Newport, with piano and voice lessons.

And even though it was a financial hardship, the couple owned a piano, and all of their children played.

Elizabeth Doncaster was not only a farm wife and mother, but also a nurse. Still, she always found time for music.

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LRUHS — A very good school has a very good year

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copyright the Chronicle June 7, 2017

 

by Tena Starr

 

Lake Region Union High School Principal Andre Messier had nothing but good to say about this year’s graduating class at the school’s annual awards night last Thursday. Awards night recognizes students in all grades, but Mr. Messier focused on the seniors and the school itself, which U.S. News and World Report has once again ranked in the top ten high schools in Vermont. This year it’s eighth.

“This is my favorite night of the year,” Mr. Messier said. Students get recognition when they win in sports and other events, he noted. “But rarely do we get to focus on the academic side.”

Towards the end of the program when he handed out the Presidential Awards for Academic Excellence, he said: “This group of seniors has set the bar, the standard, for this school. Those of you who are younger have something to chase.” He added that he fully expects them to do that, of course.

Eighteen students received the Presidential Award: They are: Maria Brosseau, Hunter Cota, Rebecca Doucet, Hunter Duquette, Margo Foster, Emily Klar, Elizabeth Locke, Avery Marcotte, Ashley Morrill, Olivia Owens, Andrew Parkinson, Colton Porter, April Streeter, Katherine Whipple, Alexis Rodgers, Sam King, Zachary Hale, and Erin Smith.

Mr. Messier also noted that this is the sixth year in a row that U.S. News has recognized Lake Region for outstanding achievement.

“That’s something this community should be extremely proud of,” he said. “That’s six consecutive years that the students who have come through Lake Region have maintained this.”

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LR Rocks singer showcase March 4

 

The Lake Region music department presents an antidote to the midwinter blues on Friday, March 4, when LR Rocks presents its annual singer showcase at Parker Pie in West Glover starting at 7:30 p.m.

The vocalists of the Power Rangers and Funk Out will perform a stylistically diverse show of solos, duets, and ensemble selections. Highlights include “Peace Train,” “Rockin’ Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu,” Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face,” “Four Chords,” Earth, Wind & Fire’s “September,” the Adele mash-up “Rumor Has It/Someone Like You,” “For Good” from the musical Wicked, and much more.

Back-up musicians are Josh Lavine (drum set), Jade Dennison (piano), Chris “Fingers” Doncaster (bass), and special guest on the keys, Dr. Pepper Sue.

This concert is a fund-raiser for the “Trills and Thrills” band festival in June. Suggested admission is a $5 donation per person. Ticket sales and reservations are in advance only, and begin one week prior to the show. Seating is limited!

Doors open at 7 p.m. on the night of the show.

Please contact Kathy McCoy at 754-2500, extension 0, or e-mail at [email protected]

For general questions about the show, please contact Sara Doncaster at 754-2500, extension 219, or 754-6335. — submitted by Sara Doncaster.

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At LR Rocks: Live experience cultures young performers

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April Streeter shows off the electric guitar she played live for the first time.  Photos by Nathalie Gagnon-Joseph

April Streeter shows off the electric guitar she played live for the first time. Photos by Nathalie Gagnon-Joseph

copyright the Chronicle February 25, 2015

by Nathalie Gagnon-Joseph

COVENTRY — April Streeter, 15, is no stranger to singing in public, but Saturday night’s LR Rocks showcase at Parker Pie Wings did include a first for her — a whirl on the electric guitar in front of a live audience.

“It’s kind of a rush,” she said. “It’s really fun to get up there. The energy is really great, especially in places like this.”

Parker Pie Wings had set up the concert venue on one side of its bar. The smaller space created a packed atmosphere for the 100 people in attendance.

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Lake Region’s Pippin — a lively performance with a groovy feel

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A despondent Pippin (Nate Chambers) gets schooled by his well-preserved grandmother (Karamae Hayman-Jones).  Also listening, as Ms. Hayman-Jones rocked the house during a Halloween matinee, are her fellow players (left to right, Kayla Poginy and Mariah Moore).   Photo by Joseph Gresser

A despondent Pippin (Nate Chambers) gets schooled by his well-preserved grandmother (Karamae Hayman-Jones). Also listening, as Ms. Hayman-Jones rocked the house during a Halloween matinee, are her fellow players (left to right, Kayla Poginy and Mariah Moore). Photo by Joseph Gresser

copyright the Chronicle November 5, 2014

by Joseph Gresser

ORLEANS — Lake Region Union High School’s production of Pippin could be taking place anywhere, at any time.

That, of course, is only true of what happens on stage. In our world the shows will be performed at 7 p.m. on Thursday, November 6, Friday, November 7, and Saturday, November 8. Audiences can be confident the shows will go on at the Opera House at the Orleans Municipal Building.

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