Young Americans provide platinum performance

The 253 youths from New Prague area schools and Young American cast members prepare to take a bow after a practice. The Young Americans
program had youth from New Prague area schools participate in a workshop and then do two shows for families and friends. To see more photos click on the Blue Button, lower right. (Patrick Fisher Photo)

The Young Americans program visited New Prague recently and with 253 youths and teens from the area provided a platinum performance.

The Young Americans is a program that encourages arts in the schools and goodwill among others. It does national and international tours. The current tour of 46 cast members and two directors arrived in New Prague on Saturday, Sept. 14. It did an all day workshop with local students on Monday, Sept. 16, and a half-day workshop the following day. The workshops touched on singing, dancing and acting. The Young Americans did two performances on Tuesday at the New Prague Middle School gym. The first act featured the Young Americans and the second act included students.

"They’ve been loving it," said Nicole Thietje, choir director at the middle school, of the 253 students. They came from the elementary schools, middle school, high school, St. Wenceslaus School and home schools.

"They (Young Americans) come here every three years," said Thietje, who is a Young American alumnus. "The students have been asking for the past year when they would arrive."

The program is one that is popular with area students, while the performances draw families and friends. New Prague Area Schools Superintendent Tim Dittberner estimated the 4 p.m. show had about 800 people and the 7 p.m. show drew 1,000.

Thietje said, "The administration has been awesome, giving the students this opportunity." Besides singing, the Young Americans also encourage instruments. There were playing of drums and senior Emma Diehl played guitar while singing a song she composed.

"The Young Americans have been impressed with how well behaved the students are and how talented they are," said Thietje.

The Young Americans presented a plaque to Thietje for her work in helping organize the event in the shape of a record. They said they usually present a "gold" record, but since New Prague had such a large turnout, Thietje was receiving a "platinum" record.