Homer’s youth performing arts show returns to the Mariner stage

Jubilee has been a celebration of student art in Homer since 1985

Auditions for the Jubilee youth performing arts show for Homer’s annual Jubilee festival will take place on Thursday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Mariner Theatre.

Jubilee has been a celebration of student art in Homer since 1985. It was originally organized by Diane Borgman, McNeil Canyon Elementary School Principal at the time, who wanted students from local area schools to have an opportunity to share their work in the community, she told the Homer News.

The first decade of the annual event was a collaborative effort with the schools and the Pratt Museum where the artwork was showcased. The performing arts component was added two years later in 1987 due to suggestions and support from performing artists working with youth in the community. Borgman contributed efforts to the annual event for at least 20 years, she said.

Over the past several years, with COVID and challenges in finding hosts, the show has not been performed but will be back with a performance at the end of April. Homer Council on the Arts is the hosting organization this year and it will be directed by Jim Anderson and Britny Bradshaw.

“I want to make sure that any student who is interested in contributing to the performance has the chance to work something up for it. So, we want to be really flexible in getting kids involved,” Anderson said.

Once they are involved, youth performers do need to realize they they’re going to need to put the effort in to make their pieces as polished as possible before the show, he said. They will have about six weeks of rehearsal time between the auditions and the performance.

The Jubilee performance has been a big deal for Homer for a long time, Anderson said. He said audiences would always totally pack the house of the theater.

Anderson said he expects vocal and dance auditions to draw the most people. They are also expecting some instrumental pieces and aerial silks. Aerial silks hang from above the stage of the theater and performers use the fabric to support their bodies and maintain stability while using various techniques of reversals and falls.

“We’re really just trying to encourage a wide range of talent. Students are welcome to bring whatever they feel comfortable and inspired to share, any form of expression, just think outside of the box and come share some of the fun stuff the kids like to do,” Anderson said.

Borgman noted that in the early years of the performance the Jubilee crew coordinated a group of judges to adjudicate the youth. The criteria included performance ready, level of preparedness, appropriate material for a family show and time length of the audition material. The judges would then provide feedback to the youth on their auditions. That process continues today and basically maintains the same adjudication criteria noted in the 2024 HCOA application details.

Other application details note that students may audition for more than one act but will only be selected for a single act. They are also allowed to respectfully attend and observe the auditions of other students.

Anderson also noted that participation in the Jubilee performance provides students with a scholarship venue to apply to through HCOA that will give them an option for funding other youth arts activities in the state such as camps in the summer.

Students can find audition packets with more information and submit them prior to the Thursday evening event or they can complete them on-site. The 2024 Jubilee cast list will be posted online and on the door of the HCOA building on Pioneer Avenue and the Homer High School green room door by Monday, March 11, 4 p.m.

The Jubilee performance will take place on Friday, April 19, 7 p.m., at the Mariner Theater. Proceeds from the performance will support the Ron Senungetuk Youth Fine Arts Scholarship Fund for young artists.

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