By Don Lowe
The entire Neosho School District has reason to beam with a great deal of pride and a sense of tremendous satisfaction in seeing their impressive new Freeman Health System Performing Arts Center now being used daily.
Neosho Superintendent of Schools Dr. Jim Cummins knows this is a big deal for the district and he emphasizes, “It provides a first-class venue for our students, first and foremost. We have a high-achieving band program, and our show choir has been nationally ranked.
“In addition, it allows our theater productions to be much more robust. It will also become a regional draw for outside performances that will support our local businesses and help make Neosho an even better place for people to live.”
The facility includes a 1,500-seat auditorium with an orchestra pit, acoustic treatments, fly loft, dressing rooms and a loading area, as well as classrooms for performing arts students.
As for the vision that initiated this project, Dr. Cummins says, “The executive cabinet felt it was a need. They presented it to the Neosho School Board. The board decided to put it to a vote. And it was part of the 2020 ballot measure.”
When it comes to all those who have figured prominently in helping bring this to life, Dr. Cummins says, “There are probably too many to name. We had excellent support from our school board, community members and the fine arts team at the school.”
This performing arts center is expected to host wide-ranging events and activities, and Dr. Cummins says, “It will be available to any person or group. We have a usage document that explains costs and expectations.
“We use it daily for theater, drama, vocal and band classes. We will have performances by our bands and choirs in all age groups. We will host band and show choir competitions on weekends. And we’ll have our theater productions. Additionally, we will host outside organizations, as well.”
Dr. Cummins has every reason to be thrilled at seeing this through, while recognizing fully that it’s all about those young men and women who will benefit most. “Our students can be proud of their ‘home’ and be rewarded for the tremendous work they do.
“It is a first-class facility that honors our students, teachers and community. When a community is willing to invest in its local schools, the value comes back to the community many times over.”
Neosho School District’s Freeman Health System Performing Arts Center Fast Facts
Usage: During school and when performances are scheduled. Currently, students in the fall play are practicing after school. It is used for drama classes and other production classes during the day.
Physical Address: 511 Neosho Blvd., Neosho, Missouri
Phone Number: 417.451.8670
Amenities: Excellent views and acoustics, comfortable seating and a true fine arts center
Overseeing Operations: Presently shared between the assistant superintendent of operations and the administrative assistant, as well as the Neosho activities director and administrative assistant.
• Show Choir Festival – Nov. 4
• Benton Third Grade Concert – Nov. 9
• Neosho Community Christmas Concert (Chris Fenske) – Dec. 1
• Neosho High School Fall Musical (Wizard of Oz) – Dec. 7-10
• Neosho High School and Junior High School Jazz Concert – Dec. 11
• Holiday Choral Concert – Dec. 12
• Benton Second Grade Concert – Dec. 13
• Neosho High School and Junior High School Winter Concert – Dec. 14