Back to School and Back to Arts

It’s back to school and back to arts for the VPA. The VPA was founded in 2006 to support the arts and provide performing arts opportunities in our community.  Over the last decade, the VPA has donated over $110,000 to Sherwood schools through teacher grants and scholarships to high school seniors.  The VPA has grown from one choir to eight, produces two or more theater productions each year, and offers a strings program.

After 13 years of directing the VPA choirs, Cindy Christensen retired in May.  Kristen Hartman has stepped in as the Choir Program Director.  Kristen has been with the VPA since 2008 as a participant in the Chorale, parent of two students, Technical Director, and Assistant Director in the VPA Theater program. Kristen is pleased to have the opportunity to provide leadership for a program that has been thriving in Sherwood.

The VPA choir directors are bringing a lot of talent and experience!  Louis Umbarger was a VPA choir director last year.  Louis received a B.A. in Music from Lewis and Clark College and is an active sound designer, composer, arranger, and conductor. Stephanie Landtiser is a musician from Portland. Since receiving her B.A. in Music Education from Pacific University, Steph has been traveling the West Coast, teaching and performing everything from sacred music to indie folk rock. 

Returning choreographers, Tara, Susan, and Nicole will keep students on their toes. Tara Porter trained with the Arizona Ballet Company and also in genres including lyrical, jazz, modern, and tap. Susan Harris began her 25-year, professional musical theatre and opera career after training in New York and at Philadelphia’s Curtis Institute of Music. Nicole Burgess studied ballet, jazz and contemporary and was accepted into the Studio Company at the Joffrey Ballet in New York.

Auditions and enrollment have already begun for the VPA’s 2017-2018 season. Choir auditions will be held September 12 for 4th-12th grade and adults. Strings classes are now enrolling. Auditions for the VPA production of Seussical JR are open for 4th-12th graders September 5-8.

Don’t miss Seussical JR performances October 20-21 and October 27-28 at the Sherwood Center for the Arts. This production is a fun romp through Dr. Seuss’ well-known stories featuring Horton the Elephant and the beloved Cat in the Hat. The annual Spirit of Christmas concert is December 9 at the Sherwood Center for the Arts. This choral performance is sure to get everyone in the spirit! Keep an eye on the VPA Facebook page and website ( for tickets and events.