APPLAUSE! promotes and enhances the student experience in OPRFHS’ performing arts by engaging its members in volunteer activities that:
Support and celebrate the performing arts curriculum
Encourage, facilitate, and initiate extra-curricular and enrichment opportunities for performing arts students
APPLAUSE!, made up of dedicated parent, community, alumni, volunteers and educators, has widened its support to include all performing arts at the high school.
Milestones Build a Strong History
OPRFHS parent John D’Asaro founded the Concert Tour Association (CTA) in 1969 with John Briggs, then Chairman of the Music Department at OPRFHS, and Jerry Dambriska, a fellow parent and attorney, to help offset the costs of the 60-student-large orchestra trip the high school sponsored in the summer. Launched as a 501(c) 3 organization, CTA offered a novel way for students to raise funds for those trips, through sales of apples and oranges, pancake breakfasts, and “Treasures and Trifles” events. Money also came through Oak Park Musical Theater, a group that designated parts of its profits to CTA.
In the mid-1980s, CTA saw renewed activity and increased advocacy when Scottie Jones joined the school’s faculty as band leader. CTA started calling for improvements to all music programs, from band to orchestra to choir as well as all co-curricular activities. CTA’s focus crystalized around:
• Creating opportunities for student fundraising
• Providing grants to music teachers for enrichment programs such as clinicians, and for improvement to equipment
The decision to broaden support was a result of CTA’s 2010 Strategic Planning process, which concluded that the group was positioned to support not just music, but all performing arts in the school. To reflect the change in scope, CTA changed its name to APPLAUSE! in 2012.
APPLAUSE! advocated to include performing arts grades in the calculation of the grade point averages of sophomores, juniors, and seniors. The class of 2015 was the first class to benefit from the change.