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STUDENTS TO BE CITED FOR ARTS, MUSIC

Elementary, junior high and high school students with a flair for the performing arts will be honored at the 16th annual MACY (Music and Arts Commendation for Youth) Awards to be held today at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa.

Students from Los Angeles and Orange county schools will be vying for more than 200 trophies and recognition awards to be handed out for outstanding achievement in the theater arts.

A team of 16 judges has spent four months observing productions from 40 schools--21 in Orange County--in preparation for the MACY awards. Excerpts from about 16 of the productions will be presented before the awards ceremony.

The awards were started in Los Angeles in 1971 by Lee Childress as the Mayor’s Adult Committee with Youth. When Childress and her husband, John, moved to Laguna Beach in 1977, they changed the name of the program and expanded it to include all of Los Angeles and Orange counties.

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Childress said in a phone interview that this year has been one of the strongest in memory. Among the shows Childress singled out for special praise were a production of “Sweeney Todd” at University High School in Irvine and a production of “Evita” at San Clemente High School. Also praised by Childress was the 43-piece orchestra of University High School.

The MACY awards are sponsored by the Childresses with Elizabeth Whiteman Smith, also of Laguna Beach. About 1,000 youngsters are in the program this year, and they are competing for awards in all aspects of the performing arts, from set and costume design to ensemble and individual acting, dancing and musicianship.

The event will begin at 4 p.m. in Orange Coast College’s Robert Moore Theatre. The Orange County schools judged for the competition are:

El Toro High School; Laguna Hills High School; San Clemente High School; Irvine High School; Saddleback High School, Santa Ana; Huntington Beach High School; Fountain Valley High School; Estancia High School, Costa Mesa; Mission Viejo High School; Dana Hills High School; University High School, Irvine; Newport Harbor High School; Corona del Mar High School; El Dorado High School, Placentia; Laguna Beach High School; Woodbridge High School, Irvine; Crown Valley Elementary School, Laguna Niguel; Vernado Junior High School, Irvine; Lakeside Middle School, Irvine; La Paz Intermediate School, Mission Viejo; Capistrano Valley High School, Mission Viejo.

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