Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down

Thumbs up to all of the area high school musicians who will take the stage today at the annual Winter All-County Festival. Presented each year by the Chautauqua County Music Teachers Association, the festival takes place at 5 p.m. today at Chautauqua Lake Central School and features the best student musicians from the 18 school districts located in Chautauqua County. Tickets will be available at the door, $5 for adults and $3 for seniors and students, and can be purchased at any time through It is a roughly 10-month process for the musicians to earn a place in the festival’s lineup, starting with selection by a student’s music teacher. Students who make it through the selection process then selection spend roughly three months rehearsing their pieces before spending all day today at the school for rehearsal. It takes dedication to be perform music at a high level — kudos to the Chautauqua County Music Teachers Association for providing an outlet for that dedication to shine through.

Thumbs down to the lack of information about an alleged sexual assault at Jamestown Community College more than two weeks ago. On Jan. 29, the Jamestown Police Department announced it had advised JCC staff of an alleged sexual assault that reportedly occurred earlier in the day in one of the college residence halls. The investigation is ongoing and college officials were cooperating fully. Since then, no further information has been released — which means the rumor mill is running unchecked. It is important to protect the integrity of the investigation, but parents of students staying in the dorms at JCC deserve more information particularly if the person suspected of the sexual assault is still part of the campus community.

Thumbs up to the Young Playwrights Project, which allows third- and fourth-graders from Chautauqua Lake, Panama, Westfield, Ripley and Jamestown’s Fletcher Elementary School to see plays they have written acted out by members of Chautauqua Institution theater staff and volunteers. The project was conceived by Chautauqua Institution as a way to expand its educational programming into a year-round format outside of its traditional nine-week season during the summer months, and is funded by Georgia Court, a Chautauqua community member and board member of the Florida Studio Theatre. The first stage happens each fall when teaching artists from the Florida Studio Theatre visited every third- and fourth-grade classroom at each school to guide students through the process of writing a play. Students then visit the institution grounds to have the plays they had written previously as part of Phase One read aloud by adult actors in front of their peers. There were 428 plays written overall between the students of the five school districts. The plays selected as the best of the bunch will be published online and performed by the Chautauqua Theater Company at the end of June as the third part of the Young Playwrights Project. Those plays will also be presented as the first offering of the institution’s Family Entertainment Series at the commencement of its 2018 season.