Scholarship to honour former Foothills students
Theatre: The late Amy Sands to be recogized at opening of musical
By: Tammy Rollie
| Posted: Wednesday, Jan 16, 2013 10:33 am
An Okotoks woman who loved the spotlight is being honoured for her role in the performing arts.
Amy Sands, who was shot and killed in Calgary last summer, is being remembered for her love of drama with a dedication at the opening night of the Alberta High School of Fine Arts Musical Theatre Program’s musical “Back to the ’80s” on Feb. 1. The Musical Theatre Program was formerly the Mainstage Performing Arts Program, of which Sands was a member during her years in high school.
“Amy was an alumna from here and I thought it would be a right gesture to make,” said Musical Theatre Program technical and artistic director James Keary. “I posed it to the administration and parent executive, which oversee our program, and got the support from everybody.”
Keary said a brief speech will be made about Sands and her involvement in the Mainstage
“I think it’s just the right thing to do and I’m pleased that I can facilitate that,” said Keary. “I just see it as a win-win for everybody involved, even the actors and actresses this year who have no idea who Amy was and that there is that respect and recognition for alumni in the program.”
Sands’ father Ed said he is
honoured the school is paying tribute to his daughter.
“The family is certainly very touched that they would consider doing that,” he said. “Amy certainly would have been thrilled.”
Ed said his daughter began
acting in the Dewdney Players Group Theatre at the age of nine.
“She was always dramatic, doing little plays on her own,” he said. “It was very much her style. She
needed an outlet for the energy that she had.”
It began with one of Ed’s clients at his chiropractic office suggesting he bring his daughter to auditions. She landed her first role in the play “How to Eat Like a Child.”
When she landed a role in “Annie” the next year Ed signed on to do technical work for the play and his wife, Deb, co-produced. The family has been involved with the group theatre ever since, said Ed.
The Dewdney Players is also recognizing Amy Sands by renaming a scholarship in her honour. The Mary Brammer Scholarship, awarded to a student each year in the Musical Theatre Program who is pursuing theatre arts, is now named the Amy Sands Scholarship.
“Last fall one of our board members made a motion to rename the scholarship for the Alberta High School of Fine Arts as the Amy Sands Scholarship,” he said. “It seemed like an appropriate thing.”
Ed said the Mary Brammer Scholarship awarded to Holy Trinity Academy students will maintain its name. Brammer was a director for the group theatre for many years before she died of cancer in 2004, he said.
“It’s heartwarming for the family,” he said. “I suppose the other thing is that if it keeps the message of loss by a lifestyle and people go ‘Who is this Amy Sands? Oh yeah, she had a lot of problems and got involved in this lifestyle and someone shot her. I wouldn’t want this to happen to me,’ that’s an endearing message.”
Ed said the scholarship will no longer be limited to students interested in acting, but will cover all aspects of theatre from costumes to sound.
It was Sands’ love of performing that convinced Ed to transfer her from Edison School to the Alberta High School of Fine Arts so she could take part in Mainstage productions.
“It was just the opportunity to sing and dance and the opportunity to be with her friends and be out there,” he said. “Her sister Stephanie said Amy was a drama queen.”
During her teen years Amy also performed with the Windmill Players in High River and the Bonavista Players in Calgary.
After graduating from high school she participated in two more shows with the Dewdney Players.
Ed said his daughter captivated audiences with her strong stage presence.
“Amy was all over the place, talking on the phone and you didn’t know if she was coming or going, but as long as the lights were on her she did exactly what she had to do,” he said. “At rehearsals she didn’t know half her lines and on opening night she was perfect. It just drove us crazy.”