Announcing the Summer 2018 issue of Focus

Photo: Summer 2018 issue of Focus
Posted on 05/27/2018
Summer 2018 issue of FocusThis month's lead story, Melodius tunes heard far and wide

Is it possible for someone to be laser focused and a blur at the same time?

The answer is yes. For proof, just examine the case of Karen Brewster, music teacher at Davenport Middle School and Davenport High School.

On the one hand, she is a highly focused professional, attentive to every note, every detail, every uniform and costume for which she is responsible. At the same time, she also is a blur; always on the move, spreading her vision, energy and focus across multiple venues.

How is this seeming contradiction possible? The answer is that Brewster is a master of time management. She efficiently packs every minute of every day. Her schedule includes the teaching of five choir classes per week and directing responsibilities for one school musical a year.

Her assignments include the 5th and 6th grade choirs, plus the middle school, high school and swing choirs. Every four years, she also takes the swing group to Southern California for the Music in Parks competition affiliated with Disneyland. Her talented musicians have returned with trophies in their last three appearances.

Then there are her extracurriculars in the community, which include her church choir and an active leadership role with the Wheatland Theatre Co., a community arts organization she co-founded in 2008 with Drew Kowalkowski and Steve Brewster.

From its roots as a local organization producing plays and musicals in Davenport, Wheatland has evolved into a regional troupe serving all of Lincoln County. The 2017-18 season includes three productions in five communities.

As artistic director, Brewster is responsible for conceiving and implementing a vision for each production, while also melding the talent of guest artists (directors, actors and designers from around the nation) to work alongside and mentor local volunteers.

Preparations are now under way for Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!, July 20-29 at the Davenport High School Theatre. Brewster promises “it will not be your grandma’s version of Oklahoma!” Rather, she says, director Lee Mikeska Gardner, coming from Boston, will provide a “stringy” or Americana fresh take.

“Our entire community is enriched by Karen’s commitment to the performing arts,” says Davenport Superintendent Jim Kowalkowski. “The Davenport School District is so fortunate to have such a talented, dedicated and amazing teacher. Under Karen’s direction and leadership, our drama productions and choir concerts are of consistent high-quality.”

Amazing, indeed. Laser-focused, too.

Read the complete Summer 2018 issue of Focus.