Pal-Mac Performing Arts Class Builds Set for Sodus School – The Times of Wayne County

It’s a clear, cold Thursday evening at Palmyra-Macedon High School when suddenly, the roar of a loading truck is heard turning into the parking lot.

The truck is there to load up valuable cargo: four wooden platforms and a set of stairs, all ready to be used for the performing arts scene. However, the final destination isn’t Pal-Mac, it’s the Sodus Central School District.

You read correctly. The hand-designed and hand-built rigs will be used for Charlie Brown’s performance by Sodus. The sets were built by a group of five students and performing arts facilities and operations specialist Doug Blackall.

“We’re all one big community here,” Blackall said. “So if we can give back and help another school, that’s kind of what we’re doing.”

Brenna Wren, who helps run the Sodus program, meets Blackall at the high school loading dock. Thursday was the second and final set pickup.

So how did it all come together?

“She [Wren] said, “Hey can you help us, we had a change of staff and need a little help,” Blackall said. “We know you guys, that’s what you do, can we use your work for us? And I said ‘Yeah, I think that’s going to be a great opportunity.’

Blackall said the opportunity was a no-brainer, as his band was already well positioned for their own upcoming performance of “Little Shop of Horrors,” which will be played from March 10.

The project started just after the students returned from winter vacation. The group first looked at the design plans, which were drawn up specifically for Sodus. Then began the fun part, putting it all together.

The students met with Blackall every day during a 90-minute class period towards the end of the school day to set up the work. The job was to cut the wood, drill screws and make sure everything was lined up.

Every detail was considered, even down to the box containing all the screws, which was specifically marked “Sodus”.

In total, the process took about two weeks from start to finish.

It was an opportunity that was not missed by students like Pal Mac’s Faith Beals junior, who was one of the students who helped assemble the platforms.

“It’s been pretty fun,” Beals said. “We’re moving pretty fast and we’re not running out of time,” Faith said.

Faith said that at first she only joined the group to hang out with a friend, but over the process she learned more about teamwork.

“I did a lot of construction stuff, like I was good at it. And then a bunch of other people do the measuring and cutting. We all kind of go into our comfort zone, but we also branch out with others.

But there was more to the learning, as Beals and Blackall said, not only did the opportunity give the group a chance to learn more about show business and each other, but it gave them also gave the feeling of making a difference.

“We’re going to help them put on a great show for them, and we’re going to have that feeling of helping them, so I’m very excited,” Faith said.

Now back to Thursday night.

With the hard work largely behind them, Blackall and Wren worked with two other helpers to place the final pieces in the back of the truck. The end of a multi-week trip took about 15 minutes to wrap up.

Blackall and Wren shared a big hug and a smile as the truck pulled away with its new goodies in tow.

“We’re all a big community here, so if we can give back and help another school, then that’s kind of what we’re doing,” Blackall said.

From the loading dock, Wren said the platforms and stairs will be painted and decorated by Sodus students. Due to COVID protocols, the two parties will not be able to officially meet at this time.

“Sodus Performing Arts is grateful for the partnership with Douglas Blackall and his team as they construct some of the set pieces for our upcoming musical, You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown,” Wren said in a statement. “It is an act of generosity appreciated beyond words. We can’t wait to meet the people involved in this project via Zoom and can’t wait to see it built and ready to go!

Palmyra-Macedon Superintendent Dr. Robert Ike was impressed.

“I want to express how proud I am of Mr. Blackall and his group of students for going the extra mile to help build sets for the Sodus School District ahead of his musical performance. It’s inspiring to see that despite being in different communities, the project can create meaningful memories and connections. We in the Palmyra-Macedon Central School District value community outreach and positive bonding; it’s part of what makes us proud of Pal-Mac.

Blackall said he is proud of his group, but they are always looking to grow the team. If you would like to join the class, please email him at [email protected]

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This year, Palmyra-Macedon High School will proudly present its very own musical, “Little Shop of Horrors”.

According to MTI (Musical Theater International), the show is “musical hilarity with this delightful sci-fi hit about a man-eating plant.” There is a PG-13 rating on this show due to its casual language and dark comedic flair.

You can see the show on March 11 and 12 at 7 p.m. Tickets can be purchased online: https://www.onthestage.tickets/show/palmyra-macedon-high-school

On Thursday, March 10 at 1 p.m. there will be a free viewing of the show for the senior community.