B'ville: Visions brought to the stage

Creativity flows endlessly in Richard Simiele's mind.

The Ray Middle School music teacher has written and created an astounding 25 plays (including music) for Baldwinsville students since beginning his career with the Baldwinsville school district.

"The first musical I wrote, "Get On With It," was for my students at Durgee (Junior High School) in 1984," he said. "They were a very talented, energetic, and responsible group of young people as have all my students at Ray ever since."

Simiele was at Durgee for two years before transferring to Ray 24 years ago. Before that, he worked in the Cato-Meridian, Syracuse and Solvay school districts for a total of eight years.

His most recent production will be brought to stage this Friday night at Ray.

Simiele began writing his own productions when he found a lack of challenging and appropriate material for his students to tackle.

"I had been involved with directing and working professionally within musicals as an orchestra musician for years," he said. "But, I was never really excited about the material available that I considered appropriate, challenging, fun and entertaining for both my middle school students and the audiences we were trying to reach."

Since writing his first play, he has been nothing but satisfied with the process and results.

"There really isn't anything, in my view, more exciting than to have your students buy into a completely creative process from the ground up. The kids become part owners of the play itself. It's always a bit scary, but it is constantly rewarding and exciting on so many different levels in the education process."

"Creating a musical is very much like bringing up your own children," he said. "They're all very different with unique needs and a wonderful variety of personal dynamics. They create challenges, and you always love them all while doing your best to guide them like your own kids."

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