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Appalachian Theatre Salutes WHS Class of 2020 Window Displays Honor Graduating Seniors in Performing Arts

The Appalachian Theatre of the High Country (ATHC) is joining the Town of Boone and other community partners in honoring graduating seniors from the Watauga High School Class of 2020 with marquee signage and large window displays at the historic landmark on King Street in Boone.

“It seems only appropriate that we honor those performing arts students who are a vital part of the award-winning theatre, dance, and music programs at Watauga High School,” said John Cooper, chair of the Appalachian Theatre board of trustees. “In fact, the WHS Honors Choir, under the direction of Brandon Winbush, was the very first group to grace our newly-renovated stage during a patron ‘sneak peek” preview party last October.”

ATHC Executive Director Laura Kratt noted that the WHS Pioneer Playmakers were among the last groups to perform at the theatre prior to the government-ordered closure in response to the pandemic. “Their standing-room-only encore presentation of ‘Ernest and the Pale Moon’ was a very successful benefit performance, and put the Playmakers over the top of their fundraising goal to represent our community and the state at the Southeastern Theatre Conference in Louisville, KY in late February and early March,” said Kratt. “Who knew then that it would be their final local performance for the many graduating seniors involved in the performance?”

Susan McCracken, a WHS parent and ATHC board member conceived the idea of showcasing the performing arts majors at the theatre after seeing the banners on display in downtown Boone honoring student athletes. Her daughter, senior Alice McCracken Knight, is an active participant in both the theatre and choral programs at the high school. She is just one of the 41 graduates whose names and photographs adorn the large windows in front of the theatre, directly under the historic marquee that reads, “Congratulations Watauga High School Class of 2020.”

Elaine Kallestad is the mother of two graduating seniors, both of whom were heavily involved in WHS music programs. Her son Adam was in the high school band, and his twin sister Marie served as concertmaster of the WHS Orchestra. Kallestad wrote, Thanks for all the thoughtful gestures, especially for the brilliant display at the Appalachian Theatre. “We drove by yesterday and took pictures; it is such a great tribute to the WHS performing arts grads.”

To learn more about the Appalachian Theatre of the High Country, visit their website at www.apptheatre.org.