By Amanda Moss
HAMLET — Richard and Shelley Lampley know just how important the arts are to students. Their daughter, Karlee Thompson, has immersed herself in artwork and music for many years.
The first day of Arts Alive! was a success as the artwork and musical talents of the students in Richmond County were out on display for all eyes to see. The program has celebrated since 2001 the National Youth Art Month, and National Music in Our Schools Month which are held every March.
Thompson, 17, of Hamlet, was one artist who was bound to catch everyone’s eye. She helped design the brochure cover for the event.
“She really is very talented,” Richard Lampley said. “She draws all the time, and her stuff really can take your breath away.”
Thompson wasn’t with her parents as she was getting ready for her performance with the Raider Concert Band.
“She’ll be playing the flute tonight, but she also plays the trumpet,” Shelley Lampley said. “We’re here to support her because she really has put in a lot of effort towards this show.”
Thompson’s parents were all to ready to talk about her achievements. They even took the time to point out her other artwork that was on display in the lobby.
“She is very good, but it definitely doesn’t take away from the talent of the other students,” Richard Lampley said as he looked on at other works of art. “It is amazing the talent that is here in this county.”
The lobby was decked out in pieces of art that would put some adult artists to shame. The detail and imagination of the sketches and paintings caused many to do a double take.
The key event for the evening was the concert put on by Richmond Senior High’s Concert Band and Jazz Ensemble. The middle school’s All-County Band also played a few pieces.
Mike Ward, director of the Concert Band and Jazz Ensemble, was almost as excited as the students when he looked out to the crowd that had gathered.
“You know, when I started out in 2006 there was hardly anyone in the crowd, and now the place is full,” Ward said.
Ward said that the support of the community has kept the arts alive in the county and that it meant a great deal to the students who displayed their talents.
Drew Davis, a sixth-grader at Rockingham Middle School, was one of those students who was grateful for the support of the community.
“I have grown in music and music has grown in me,” Drew said. “If I made a bad grade or the day wasn’t going great, I could always go and play my piano and it would instantly brighten my day.”
Arts Alive! will continue today at the Cole Auditorium in Hamlet. Visual arts will be displayed all day, and the chorus will perform at 7 p.m.