Ds Scholarship

Scholarship Pays Tribute To Beloved Lead Singer Of The Crests

CLEARWATER, FL — Ruth Eckerd Hall and the Marcia P. Hoffman School of the Arts announced the creation of the Tommy Mara Scholarship, created in honor of Mara, who died in January 2021.

The announcement was made immediately following a tribute to Mara during the sold-out Doo Wop Reunion concert March 4 at Ruth Eckerd Hall.

“The Ruth Eckerd Hall Family was so fortunate to have Tommy Mara grace our stage on many occasions,” said Sharon Reid-Kane, vice president and chief education and community engagement officer of the Marcia P. Hoffman School of the Arts at Ruth Eckerd Hall . “The joy he brought both staff and patrons will long remain in our memories, while his legacy will continue through this generous gesture in support of our students’ dreams.”

After moving from Queens to Florida, Mara befriended Johnny Maestro, the original lead singer of The Crests. Mara eventually joined the group. After Maestro’s death in 2010 and with his blessing, Mara became lead singer for The Crests.

The new scholarship will enable young vocalists to continue their studies at the Marcia P. Hoffman School of the Arts at Ruth Eckerd Hall.

“We are incredibly grateful to the Mara family for offering their encouragement of the next generation of singers while celebrating one of America’s great entertainers,” said Reid-Kane.

“My father’s philanthropy knew no boundaries, and I am sure that he is beaming with pride right now,” said Jennifer Mara. “He looked forward to his time on stage at Ruth Eckerd Hall and loved entertaining his fans. We are thankful for the years that he was allowed to live his dream. On behalf of the Marasciullo family, I would like to thank the Marcia P. Hoffman School of the Arts and Ruth Eckerd Hall for this amazing legacy to an incredible man.”

Hoffman Announces Summer Camp Options

The Marcia P. Hoffman School of the Arts at Ruth Eckerd Hall recently announced its schedule of summer camps.

The theme this summer will be “Summer of Sondheim” in honor of the legendary composer and lyricist, Stephen Sondheim.

Students will have the opportunity to celebrate his music, explore their talents, discover new friends and dive into some of theater’s most iconic characters. A variety of classes will be offered to students of all ages starting on June 6 and running through Aug. 5.

Enrollment is now open. As with previous summer camps, space will be limited, and classes are expected to fill up quickly.

“Sondheim was a technical and theoretical master who blended good compositional technique with raw emotion in a way that was unique and unchallenged,” said Yohance Wicks, Marcia P. Hoffman music department chair. “The difficulty in everyone that Sondheim is captur of he intended, but the joy is in the journey, and leaves satisfied.”

Weekly themed performing art camps will include Wizards and Wands, Princesses and Dragons, Space Rangers, Superheroes and Silly Sidekicks, Minion Mayhem, Toon Tales, Awesome Animal Adventure, Game On and Mermaids and Pirates for ages 5 to 7 and 8 to 10. Students aged 11 to 13 will be able to participate in a Sondheim Broadway review.

Middle school-aged students can experience a jazz-intensive camp, visual arts for the theater and an on-camera acting class.

Students age 14 to 18 can audition for the upcoming production of “Into the Woods.” No experience is necessary, and the auditions are placement only.

The Marcia P. Hoffman School of the Arts alumni are invited to return to the stage for a production of “Sunday in the Park with George.”

Auditions are not only limited to alumni, but interested actors must be at least 18 years old and graduated from high school for a year.

For information on camps and tuition assistance, contact the education associates at REHEDU@rutheckerdhall.net.

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