WIU Dance Faculty Member Travels the Midwest to Watch Students’ Summer Performances
July 26, 2021
MACOMB, IL – For Western Illinois University Dance Instructor Donald Laney, investing in the professional lives and summer performances his students are involved in this year is a trait he learned as a young child.
Laney has spent much of his time this summer putting many miles on his car, traveling to watch the shows WIU students are performing in across the Midwest.
The journey started after Laney spent six weeks this summer teaching at the West Virginia Governor’s School for the Arts. At about the same time, he began seeing photographs on social media of the shows his students were part of.
“I started planning on how and when I could see as many shows as I could,” said Laney. “We had three groups of students in Ohio, so they were easy to plan to see. When I finished teaching, I had planned to drive to Missouri, North and South Dakota and Iowa to catch six more shows, and now I am planning on heading to the Chicago area and Michigan to see the final three on my way back to North Carolina for a few weeks.”
Laney said he messaged each set of students to expect his arrival, and he said they seemed happy to see a familiar face and to receive added support from their college.
Students Laney visited on his trips and the shows he saw include:
• Senior musical theatre majors Jessica Patrick, of Evergreen Park, IL; Jamie Rediger, of Henry, IL; and Hannah Bullock, of Indianapolis, IN – Cedar Point Amusement Park – Sandusky, OH
• Senior musical theatre majors Ondreya Seahorn, of Winfield, KS; and Caleb Johnson, of Lewistown, IL – “Tecumsah!” – Chillicothie, OH
• Junior musical theatre major Riley Francis, of Kettering, OH – “Bright Star” – Epiphany Summer Theatre – Dayton, OH
• Senior musical theatre major Kaela Dawn Massey, of Udall, KS; sophomore musical theatre major Hannah Guilinger, of Thomson, IL; senior musical theatre major Joe Collins, of Sherrard, IL; and WIU Voice Instructor Lisa Wipperling – “All Shook Up” – Clinton Showboat – Clinton, IA
• Senior musical theatre major Jack Warring, of Glenpool, IL – “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change” – Black Hills Playhouse – Custer, SD
• Senior musical theatre major Clarissa Consoli, of Roselle, IL – Minot Summer Theatre – Minot, ND
• Senior musical theatre major Tori Lynn, of Troy, IL; junior musical theatre major McGwire Holman, of Minooka; senior musical theatre majors Kelly Brown, of Rolla, MO; and Danny Hollander, of Volo, IL – “Sh-Boom! Life Could Be A Dream” – Dakota Prairie Regional Center for the Arts – New Rockford, ND
• Senior musical theatre major Tanner Schartz, of Dodge City, KS – “Clue: On Stage” – Okoboji Summer Theatre – Okoboji, IA
• Senior musical theatre major Brooke Kassal, of Lombard, IL – “The Marvelous Wonderettes” – Overshadowed Theatrical Productions – Medinah, IL
• Senior musical theatre major Megan Graal, of West Chicago, IL – “Jesus Christ Superstar” – Timber Lake Playhouse – Mt. Carroll, IL
• Sophomore musical theatre major Izzy Maxwell, of Rochester, MN – “Godspell” – Cornwell’s Turkeyville Dinner Theatre – Marshall, MI
• WIU Theatre and Dance Chair Tammy Killian; Associate Professor and Musical Theatre Director Lysa Fox; and Professor Emeritus Bill Kincaid – “Always Patsy Cline” – Ozark Actors Theatre – Rolla, MO
Laney said the idea of traveling the country to watch his students’ shows came from his mother, who taught fourth grade.
“She always made a point to go to student’s activities – be it a sporting event, music recital, or dance recital,” he said. “I watched her do this for over 30 years, and she always commented that it meant a lot to show the students that you support them outside of the classroom, as well as in it. Being in the Theatre and Dance Department, many of our students get employment doing what we teach them during the year, so it is great to see them in the shows, and the progress they have made while at WIU.”
Laney added that being musical theatre majors brings with it an intensive schedule on campus and it has been rewarding to see their “hard work, dedication and discipline” pay off.
For more information about the WIU Department of Theatre and Dance, visit wiu.edu/theatre.
Posted By: Jodi Pospeschil (JK-Pospeschil@wiu.edu)
Office of University Relations
Originally Appeared Here