By Rob Hinton, photo at right, Class of ‘71
Another opening, another show?! There just could be if Withrow alum Zachery Riggins, photo at left, gets his way. Zach wants to bring back the SOUNDS OF WITHROW to a 21st century audience. The “Sounds” label would still be there but he’s calling his production, WITHROW SOUNDS AGAIN. The once annual musical tradition known as SOUNDS has not been seen or heard since the 1980s.
Zach is a 1972 graduate and (in full disclosure) a friend of mine since childhood. During his high school years, Zach was part of the SOUNDS family (as many of us were). He played trumpet in the band, sang in the choir and was also a member of the stage crew. So, he knows a little something about the production of SOUNDS.
Since high school, Zach continued his love for music and theatrical productions locally as a performer, director, producer and technician. He is also president of the Cinematic Plays Theater Company, a local entertainment group. The idea of resurrecting SOUNDS came about in early 2016. Zach mentioned it as a possible fundraiser for the current Withrow band and had hoped to put together a production that summer. The timing wasn’t quite right but Zach wasn’t ready to toss out his idea…his vision.
Earlier this year, he established a Facebook page devoted to memories about SOUNDS. The page is also called WITHROW SOUNDS AGAIN. Hundreds of people from the days of SOUNDS and its predecessor, Minstrels, have signed on…sharing cast pictures, programs and other memorabilia from back in the day. The memories have also generated momentum and enthusiasm for Zach’s idea to bring back this grand musical tradition.
Throughout the past year, Zach has made numerous trips to Withrow to check out the sound and lighting systems in the auditorium. He has also spent countless hours going through the Tiger archives and finding music and other items from Sounds. Just after Labor Day, a few alums (including me) joined Zach at Withrow to count the number of seats in the auditorium and reacquaint ourselves with the layout. Our efforts coincided with a visit from members of the class of ’67 who were on a reunion tour. It gave Zach an opportunity to share his masterplan for WITHROW SOUNDS AGAIN! Reception to his idea from that class alone was a big hit.
The goal now is to make WITHROW SOUNDS AGAIN a reality and one of the opening events in our Alma Mater’s centennial celebration. Zach (with help from a few other alumni) is fine tuning his vision for WITHROW SOUNDS AGAIN. I’m not sure what music he plans to use but I do know he hopes to use talent from both the glory days and the present in this musical resurrection.
Making the SOUNDS stage come alive again by May 2018 won’t be an easy task. Zach knows it’s going to take a lot of volunteers and a lot money to pull this thing off. You can help by using the Donate button below:
The Sounds of Withrow was a glorious part of Withrow’s great history; and through this production of WITHROW SOUNDS AGAIN, the fun and joy of Withrow music will be a befitting way to celebrate Withrow’s Centennial.