A Road Less Traveled

Westmont is taking a big step toward making Cold Spring Road safer for pedestrians. As part of the federally funded Safe Routes to School, the college is extending the Cold Spring Road pathway to reach La Paz Road. In the past, pedestrians were forced out onto narrow Cold Spring Road before rejoining the trail below the southern entrance to campus. Crews cleared out poison oak and other debris, then used existing rocks to form the border of the path. Over the next several days, crews will lay decomposed granite, a biologically sensitive alternative to asphalt.

Safe Routes to School is designed to encourage children to walk and/or bicycle to school, both for the health and fitness of the children and the ancillary environmental benefits of reducing traffic around schools.

Executive Vice President Cliff Lundberg has been actively supporting the group and is even investigating how to make Westmont’s mountain trails more bike friendly to keep bikers off narrow and dangerous roads. The college has also agreed to cut back vegetation encroaching on Cold Spring Road and help fund an off-duty officer to do surveillance to improve traffic safety around school areas.

Bravissimo!

Westmont’s second annual summer musical theater camp, Bravissimo!, started this week with 31 youngsters in grades 6 through 12. The campers receive vocal training and learn all aspects of a fully staged theatrical production. They auditioned Monday, and by the end of the day, all the roles were cast. The two-week course culminates in the performance of Gilbert & Sullivan’s “H.M.S. Pinafore.”

The camp was a huge success last year, and the students’ performance of “Pirates of Penzance” received rave reviews. Laura McGough, a Westmont alumna who recently earned her master’s degree in choral conducting at the University of Oregon, is this year’s musical director. Miller James serves as stage director and acting coach. Westmont alumna Mary Patterson is the piano accompanist.

Both James and McGough have graduate degrees in vocal training, specializing in the adolescent voice.

“This music allows us to teach the foundational elements in a way that will carry the students into an improved and healthy way of performing,” James says. “We are dedicated to the process of the production, and the actual performance is merely the frosting on the cake,” he adds.

There will be two free performances: Friday, Aug. 10, at 1 pm and 7 pm in Westmont’s Porter Theatre.