mdswanson@comcast.net

St. Joseph High School Variety Show Reunion - August 19-20, 2016

Encore is a collaboration between the St. Joseph Public Schools Foundation, the St. Joseph High School, and its alumni featuring actual acts as they were presented on the stage from the 1950s through the 1990s.

History of the Show


What is now known as Showtime began as a simple collection of acts, pulled together by students at St. Joseph High School in 1950. The early shows had a title or theme; among them were; 1955 Toast of the Teens,  1956 Teens on the Town, 1957 Green Door, 1958 Rocket to the Moon, 1959 Night Train to Rio, 1960 Anything Goes, and 1961 Tropical Holiday. From that point forward, the show was no longer theme-named and it is suspected that Showtime soon after became the permanent name of the show.  

In the early days, there was no organized dance line nor stage band, but merely a talent show that happened to feature dancers and instrumental groups. Our very own Connie (Alti) Cassidy appeared in her first show as a freshman when she was 14 years old. It is not known who was the sponsor or director of the show in the earliest years.

The show evolved into a more organized production after eventually being sponsored by the student council at SJHS. It was expected that the faculty advisor of the student council would be the “director” of the show and that the current President of the Student Council would serve as “student director.” All funds received were given over to the student council for their treasury.

The first known director was Adrian Davis, a social studies teacher and guidance counselor who was the advisor of the student council. Succeeding Mr. Davis was James Heathcote, math teacher and long-time advisor of the student council. It was under Mr. Heathcote’s direction that the show became a much more sophisticated organization. Mr. John Pegram, English teacher then was the student council advisor and for one year he “directed” the show. After that year the show came under the auspices of the fine arts department and thus began a revolving directorship alternating between Betty Theisen, speech teacher, Robert Brown, band director and Dennis Bowen, choral director. Eventually the show was directed solely by Dennis Bowen from approximately 1965 through 1987 when he retired from teaching. Directors after Mr. Bowen were Judy Schnebly and Thomas Hevel. However, Mr. Bowen returns once again to direct ENCORE.

Why is there an ENCORE?

In 2012 the St. Joseph Public Schools Foundation held a focus group meeting of citizens who had an interest in the SJPS. The purpose of this meeting was to brainstorm various ideas that might result in fund raising vehicles for the foundation as well as identifying the needs of the schools that the foundation might fund.

One of the results of this meeting was that the foundation should consider sponsoring an alumni variety show. After consideration it was determined by the foundation that this was something that would be an idea that would not only produce revenue for the foundation but would increase awareness for the school system and its “product” as well. Thus, ENCORE was born. The result of this collaboration between the Foundation and St. Joseph High School and its alumni will be a production featuring the actual acts as they were presented on the stage in the 1950’s through the 1990’s.