Fanning the SPARC

When I moved from the D.C. metro area to Richmond in 1991, the School of the Performing Arts in the Richmond Community, a.k.a. SPARC, had already been founded and thriving for 10 years.

In the year 2001, our twins were born—and SPARC celebrated their 20th anniversary.

Last week, our now 11-year-old twosome felt the SPARC magic first hand via their Spring Break Camp experience. For years, their friends (and their friends’ parents) had extolled the virtues of SPARC. “They’ll never forget it!” “Our kids discovered they LOVE to act/dance/sing!” “The teachers are fantastic.”

All of the commentary was taken under advisement; but with TWO kids, surely the vaunted training would be costly, if not out entirely of the question financially.

Surprise, surprise! While perusing’s spring break camps and activities list, there was SPARC. No, it wasn’t “cheap,” but it was surprisingly far from outrageous…and on this side of it now, a bargain.

The camp ran five days, from 9am-5pm daily, with us sending packed lunches along.

As a part-time (9-3:30 daily) working-in-an-office mama, the timing seemed ideal. For the kids, the day felt long, and they complained—on Monday. By Tuesday, spirits and attitudes were improved. By the conclusion of Friday’s production of “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown,” no one wanted it to end. Our own Charlie (one of 6) and Snoopy (one of 5) were amongst the most vocal. When the leader asked the fledging performers “Who would like to be an actor when they grow up?” without looking to their classmates for approval or influence, EVERY SINGLE HAND SHOT UP. EVERY ONE.


Whether any or all of them fulfill that aspiration, each and every one filled an important role superlatively this spring break. As a result, confidence levels rose. Comfort acting, singing and dancing translates well to increased ease in presenting oral reports, speaking at assemblies, conveying the morning announcements.

Thank you, SPARC. We’ll be back…probably this summer!