Syd Riggs, a beloved drama teacher at Orem High School as well as prominent member of Utah’s theater community, continues to impact students even after her death in 2005.
The Syd Riggs Foundation, started by Riggs' former students and friends, is hosting its fifth-annual “Why We Tell the Story” concert on Feb. 2 at 6 and 8:30 p.m. in the Orem High School Auditorium.
The Foundation was created as an art scholarship for students at Orem High School, and has now expanded to include Timpanogos and Lone Peak high schools as well as On Broadway Music Theatre Academy, a youth performing arts academy.
The concert made its debut in 2009 and has grown since then.
“We’ve definitely accumulated a much bigger talent base,” said Ben Tichy, event organizer and director. “I have so much talent involved in the show this year, I don’t even know how to use everybody. It’s like a big puzzle.”
This year’s event will feature more than 100 entertainers. Cast members include Dallyn Vail Bayles, a Broadway cast member in “Les Miserables"; Natalie Hill, featured in Broadway shows such as “Wonderland” and “Hairspray”; as well as several other cast members who have been involved in professional companies of “Les Miserables.” While some of the entertainers never knew Riggs, they still believe in the cause.
Students attending the three high schools and the academy will participate in the preshow as well as the finale of “Why We Tell the Story.” Each group will do a seven-minute performance.
“It’s unlike anything else (the students) get to do during the school year,” Tichy said.
Students will have the opportunity to participate in free workshops taught by professionals. One student from each high school involved will be awarded a scholarship.
The scholarship awarded to each student has been just more than $1,000 in the past. However, there is a possibility for growth in the future.
“I can see us in the future, offering more scholarships and scholarships of a higher value as the show continues to grow, and we get big corporations and families willing to contribute more,” Tichy said.
Tickets can be purchased online at www.WhyWeTelltheStory.com. General admission is $10 and priority admission is $15 (no wait, reserved section seating). Door prices are $12 for general admission and $17 priority. Students may attend for $8 with their ID cards. All proceeds benefit the Syd Riggs Foundation’s arts scholarship and education programs.