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AURA hits the stage

Article Published: Mar. 10, 2011 | Modified: Sep. 7, 2011
AURA hits the stage

Boone's artistic community comes together for a variety show that celebrates local art March 18 and, for the third year in a row.

Photo by Lynne Townsend

Boone's artistic community comes together for a variety show that celebrates local art March 18 and, for the third year in a row, it's for a good cause.

It's AURA (Artists United Reaching out for Academics), billed as a performing arts extravaganza, showcasing the talents of local performing artists, musicians, dancers and poets.

The money? It goes directly to Two Rivers Community School to fund arts programming, including spring residencies like last year's African folklore group.

"They set up shop in one of the classrooms, and the kids came to them in smaller groups," organizer Kelly Sheets Snider said.

And, for kids in a school without an auditorium, that kind of instruction is invaluable, parent Teiko Takashima said.

"For our children to have artists, performing artists, right there on our school site is almost the only chance for them to be close to a real artist," she said.

And she's particularly excited. "My son, Julian, has been invited to perform," she said.

Julian Smart, a student violinist who has already been accepted to North Carolina School for the Arts, will perform at AURA alongside special guest Yakako Narita, a Japanese master of the harp-like Koto.
And music is just part of a lineup that includes local poet Mar Startari-Stegall.

"I used to do performance art out of my poetry, and local dancers would interpret it," she said. "So I'm reading from those performance pieces."

And she's debuting a new piece inspired by the recent harsh winter.

"It's some observations I made while I was hibernating at my house for a few months," she said.
Called "Melting Spot," the poem is a mesh of personal observations and parallels to life.

A former Two Rivers Community School artist in residence herself, Startari-Stegall recognizes the importance of the program to the school, but says it's more than a fundraiser. It's a really great show.

"It's a great thing for Boone," she said. "You go out to see a band, you'll see one band at that price."
You come out for an AURA variety show?

Think performances by puppeteer masters Elkland Art Center, dancers Justina Brinkley and Kelly Taylor, members of the Sheets Family Band and local world music ensemble Worldwide.

"For me," Snider said, "I go to a lot of shows. I like entertainment and music and theater ... and I've never been to a show like our AURA event, because it encompasses a lot of different performances."

The family event promises to be a celebration of art in the High Country and happens March 18 at the Valborg Theatre on the campus of Appalachian State University. Tickets are $25 for families, $10 for adults and $5 for children. The box office opens at 6 p.m., and the performance starts at 7 p.m. Expect refreshments for sale and a fine art silent auction in the lobby.

For more information on the school, visit

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