Now in its 18th year, this exciting program introduces students to the performing arts – from theater and opera to classical music and world culture – to help them gain a lifelong appreciation for the arts.

Members of the 2015 On Stage group

Students from high schools in Ames, Gilbert and Story City submitted essays detailing why they want to participate in On Stage! Those selected have an exciting opportunity to attend six varied performances during the season. Not only do they attend the shows, they can meet with the performers after the show to ask questions and gain insight into what it means to be ‘on stage.’

For many students, On Stage! is their first time experiencing live entertainment; for others, it is an opportunity to expand their arts knowledge.

The On Stage! program is designed to instill a love of and an appreciation for the performing arts and the artists. Former On Stage! participants have written about the performances they’ve seen:

  • One cannot truly express beauty in words, as it is an emotion one feels more than anything. I felt The Sleeping Beauty Ballet was indeed a beautiful experience that will create a lasting appreciation for the art of ballet in my heart.
  • I left (Stephens Auditorium) that night with a new appreciation and understanding for classical music that I hope I will never lose. (Irish Chamber Orchestra)

The program seeks to show the relevance of students’ experiences during the performances to their daily lives. Here is more positive feedback:

  • When we got to meet Daily and Vincent after the performance, they somehow managed to answer a question and turn that answer into advice about what to do when you grow up and have to make decisions.
  • I learned to find the value in each show, even if some did not fit my personal taste.
  • This involvement will help me in the future to be more open to different experiences and help me be more accepting as a person.

We are proud that On Stage! fulfills our mission to open the door for students to value the wonderful world of the performing arts. We look forward to sharing experiences with these youth and with you for many, many more years!

Please contact Sara Compton at or 515-294-7389 with questions or if you would like to support On Stage!