2008-11-21 / Community

Voice teacher named Champion of the Arts

By Steve Carlson moorpark@theacorn.com

STEVE CARLSON/Acorn Newspapers TOKEN OF APPRECIATION—Marilyn Anderson holds her Champion of the Arts award after enjoying a special performance given by students and friends with whom she has worked with during the past 30 years. Darby Shields, president of the High Street Theater Foundation, looks on. STEVE CARLSON/Acorn Newspapers TOKEN OF APPRECIATION—Marilyn Anderson holds her Champion of the Arts award after enjoying a special performance given by students and friends with whom she has worked with during the past 30 years. Darby Shields, president of the High Street Theater Foundation, looks on. Teacher, singer, coach, director, actress and community member Marilyn E. Anderson was greeted with praise when she arrived at the 2008 Champion of the Arts award brunch sponsored by the High Street Theater Foundation. The third annual event was held last Saturday at Moorpark's Secret Garden restaurant.

The brunch and silent auction were not only fundraisers for the Steve Robertson Youth Theater Workshop, which operates in conjunction with the Moorpark Boys & Girls Club, but also an opportunity to recognize a member of the local community whose talent and influence have left an impression on those with whom they have worked.

This year the foundation felt that Anderson met the criteria, citing her 30 years of involvement in local productions. Anderson is a founding director of Moorpark College's music theater program. She has also coordinated musical performances, directed plays and coached voice and opera at California Lutheran University.

Marilyn Anderson and Damian Gravino Marilyn Anderson and Damian Gravino As a musical artist, Anderson has performed in Europe and also with the Los Angeles Music Theater and the Los Robles Master Chorale.

Most of her career has been one of teaching and coaching— something that gives her a great personal sense of achievement.

When asked if she is ever exhausted, Anderson said, "It's just what I've always enjoyed. If you're going to be busy, you might as well do something you like."

Surrounded by friends, students, family and admirers, Anderson was grateful for the appreciation. A tear could be seen in her eyes, as well as in the eyes of those present who had taken her teachings to heart.

A classic brunch prepared by Chef Michael Bardavid of the Secret Garden preceded the program. Past students and friends presented a pastiche of Gilbert and Sullivan lyrics in honor of the award recipient.

STEVE CARLSON/Acorn Newspapers KEEPING GOOD COMPANY—Left, Katherine Lewis, chair of the Moorpark College Theatre Arts department, chats with High Street Foundation president Darby Shields at the Champion of the Arts award brunch held last Saturday at the Secret Garden restaurant on High Street. STEVE CARLSON/Acorn Newspapers KEEPING GOOD COMPANY—Left, Katherine Lewis, chair of the Moorpark College Theatre Arts department, chats with High Street Foundation president Darby Shields at the Champion of the Arts award brunch held last Saturday at the Secret Garden restaurant on High Street. Anderson was quick to share the limelight with people whom she feels were important to her success. "The first person you might say influenced me was Dr. David W. Scott at Cal State University at Northridge. He was the director of the opera program there for many years. He did fabulous work. I was involved in music at CSUN. I was in the choir, and, of course, opera, and I got the bug. It was through him that we were introduced to all this fabulous work."

Anderson also emphasized that her voice teacher, now deseased, also lives on in her memory every day she teaches. Elisabeth Tarham, internationally reknown voice coach, is credited by Anderson as a huge influence on her life and how she approaches her craft.

Regarding her award, presented by Darby Shields of the foundation, Anderson said, "The award is a beautiful clear crystal piece. The whole day on Saturday was quite an emotional day."

Anderson served as the musical director for the foundation's production of "The Man of La Mancha," and has worked on many musical theater productions throughout Ventura County.

Anderson will perform as a soprano vocalist with the Simi Valley Stake Choir in the holiday program Simi Community Christmas at 7 p.m. Sat., Dec. 6 at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints, 480 Sinaloa Road, Simi Valley. Admission is free.

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