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Wow, Joe wrote an critical article about the current state of Theatre at Campbell County High School. Anne ran acroos it and took great exception to it. Now, you read for yourself. I have started with the actual article. Anne's letter, then Joe's response and mine.

CCHS Drama - a Look Back at Excellence

By: Joe Muse
I was just looking back at my annuals from Campbell County High School and remembering my time in the "Drama" Department. I feel the time period that I was involved in was a golden age for the drama department there (around 1988-1990). The golden age was not brought about because I was part of it, but because the community was part of it. Yvonne Crutchfield and Arnold Jones combined with the students and parents to put on successful production after successful production. Around 1994 or so Arnold Jones stepped aside, and the department fell into shambles. I'm merely interjecting my opinion about this, but it is an opinion backed by 54 hours of theatre classes, and a theatre degree.

It was the amazing time I had in high school that caused me to pursue theatre at the college level. While in high school I was involved in A Christmas Carol, Li'l Abner, The Vigil, and The Sound of Music. I'm sure I'm leaving something out, but that was 20 years ago. We were so successful with these productions that we had enough money after the $1,500 royalty fees we had to pay for the musicals, that we even bought computers for the school. We had sell out show after sell out show. This didn't happen by accident, this happened with community involvement and wonderful parents giving their time to help construct elaborate sets. Students were giving their time, staying 3 or more hours a day to rehearse. The teachers were sacrificing their time and talents for no extra pay. We were no broadway touring company, but we had fun and gave the audience something to applaud, and play after play to remember.

Where did the energy, enthusiasm, and the great shows go? After I graduated from college in 1996, I came back and helped with Fame, with Patrick Pebley, and the teacher Anne McGhee. This was dismal. I came from a college that gave me $10,000 to construct a set, to a high school that had no money to build a set. That was my budget - I was given $0. To further complicate matters, the lighting board was a disaster. I cobbled together old pieces of scenery, and bypassed most every safety protocol to make the lighting work. Still this play paled in comparison to what we had accomplished a mere 8 years earlier. What was the difference? To start our first major production we had to raise money. We sold doughnuts, and everything else we could. After that we had enough money for every other play we attempted. For Fame, no one stepped up to raise the money. That was one part. The second and most important part was the teacher. Crutchfield and Jones both were superbly qualified to put together a show. Since Fame, there has been one true theatrical production put on by a music teacher, who was shortly displaced by a lesser qualified candidate. Until Campbell County gets a qualified candidate the theatre program will not be putting on any productions, and that is truly sad. I'd say that may be the only chance for most of those kids to take part in, or view a play.
Most people will probably say, well, that class doesn't really matter. I would have to disagree. If we want our children to compete in the next level of education we have to offer a well rounded environment so that they have a chance to thrive. If your child doesn't care much for art or music, well then theatre is a fun way to take part in the arts. Theatre gives them a chance to get up in front of a crowd. Theatre builds confidence and inner strength.
Send thoughts or comments to Xanthlore at yahoo.com.
Other fine productions I wasn't lucky enough to be part of:
Sydney Fellow, Harvey, Wizard of Oz


Perfect Pat vs Anne McGhee round 2

Here is the email Anne Wrote to Joe concerning the article in the previous blog.
Bear in mind she does not try to argue Joe's points, all she does is try to rip apart Joe, myself and the folks Joe praised.
Some of this has been omitted because what she said was so awful I will not print it here out of respect for Mr. Jones and Mrs. Crutchfield,

---- Forwarded Message ----
From: "Jam10214@aol.com" ..
To: Xanthlore@yahoo.com
Sent: Tuesday, April 7, 2009 8:58:40 PM
Subject: (no subject)

Now, big important, qualified Joe, your memory does seem to fail you. First of all, the drama department at CCHS was not wonderfully originated by Vonnie Crutchfield and Arnold Jones. Many of your facts are wrong. Arnold Jones did not step aside and was there supposedly teaching drama until after 2000. And Arnold Jones hated Vonnie Crutchfield. He often stated how she only wanted him to do tech and all the dirty work. He supposedly lost his certification when he stopped. He went to the alternative school because he wanted to be in the fieldhouse. And as for Vonnie Crutchfield's and Arnold Jones' qualifications. I was and still am more qualified than both of them and will certainly put up my certification against your GREAT theatre degree any day of the week. And how you so easily forget ( or perhaps never did know to begin with) you never did one minute of light work for me because you did not know how. And......the only time you ever did anything regarding the dismal drama department when I was concerned was when Patrick Pebley asked me if you could volunteer to put on some character actor's makeup one night, and I allowed you and your little homely girlfriend to come in and put on makeup. The only reason Patrick was ever allowed to be in anything I did was because I felt sorry for him. Remember how long it took him to get through school. How old was he when he got his driver's license? Why does he hate his mother and sister and now I suppose his father too since he was arrested for meth making. I was exceptionally kind to both you and Patrick, but I can assure you, there is a mountain of theatre material that neither of you could begin to comprehend. As far as the light board is concerned it was in the dismal shape that it supposedly was when you returned to work on it because Arnold Jones and Vonnie Crutchfield had literally destroyed it as well as the rest of the theatre. Did you know that I helped Miss Vonnie get her job at the high school to begin with? Did you know that Vonnie was an eye witness to the principal's threatening me, that she thumped her Bible around then swore on it that she saw nothing. Not that you would have cared, because Vonnie felt sorry for you and your sisters and she saw how she could use you. She thought she was superior to you. Did you know that Vonnie was jealous of me and told me so.
The job she ever had actually acting was because I hired her and was her director as well as having the leading role in the play. I was her friend and stood behind her, took care of her children
listened to her ridiculous religious rantings in one breath and her shrill swearing and insane threats to her children. I could go on and on, but don't have the time or patience. And........you never
worked one minute on Fame. You are so well versed about the drama department, you don't even know what play you came there to apply one character's makeup. Now, let's talk about Jones'
qualifications He was very good at building sets, when I provided a tremendous budget ...;.. practically unlimited. He knew nothing about directing or acting, or about sound as a matter of fact. despised Vonnie so much by the time I came back in 92 that he wanted to say that he was directing. He never directed one play, because he did not know how. He would let the kids do it, and I have seen him start as many as 4 major plays at one time and turn them over to the kids. He stole the program blind, as he did every program he became involved with.
You are bitter, jealous pseudo
intellectuals, who never had any real part of theatre, never had the joy of helping hundreds of children to feel important, never gave students self esteem and the joy of realizing that they mattered. You know, I have never had to pretend or lie about my qualifications or my talents. I have acted and directed professionally,have produced more and acted in more nationally acclaimed plays than you have even read about. And I have done many more plays since Fame. If you are so wonderfully qualified and know so much about Campbell County, then why do you not live here? And, pray tell why are you not teaching Theatre Arts or at least performing in some amateur production. The truth is, you are and Patrick are both two-faced, unhappy misfits, who have never had a "real" job.
I hoped after the meth arrest Patrick would stay off the computer and get a job, but apparently both of you need the anonymity of hiding behind phony names and phony credentials and think you are safe. I had not read anything that either of you had written for quite a while and did not intend to now, but goggled MY NAME AND IT LED TO YOUR GREAT LINK WHERE I SAW YOUR LIES.

This is Joe's response to Anne McGhee's email where she ripped on him and the rest of us. Joe really took the high road here.
I will be responding at the end of the week. Do not expect me to be so nice.

Wow, you really took that as criticism directed at you. First off let me start by saying my article was not a personal attack. It was a critical analysis of what I have seen; a once great theatre program fallen to a state where it is producing variety shows, and trying to pass them off as theatrical productions.
I must say I am really disappointed, if you would have responded with an intellectual disagreement, or better yet responded by producing a fantastic production I would have respected that. Instead you viciously attacked anyone I complimented showing how you resent those people for doing productions you currently can not pull off. I am not going to make this into a personal attack. I refuse to do that. I want to have an intelligent discourse. Now I want to clarify some points to your misguided email.
My memory failing me? You state I did not help one minute of “Fame”? True it was hours that translated to literally days. I still have the lighting cues from Fame that I wrote. You can ask Michael Butturini, Holly Williams, or Rowena Woodson if I was there. As I stated in that article I did the lights, helped with the set, and even with make-up. I never offered my assistance again after I saw how badly in my opinion you treated people, and observed your attempt at directing student’s. Sadly your approach was a train wreck and contrary to every theory, you claim to have advance knowledge of.
As far as remembering the other play, it was 12 Angry Jurors, I aged an actor for that production. Make-up being one of the many well rounded theatre skills I possess. As far as me not knowing anything about lighting, I did assist in teaching a class in lighting at ETSU. I had so much experience Dr. Hall helped part of the class with questions and projects and I helped the other. I also did design for class, set, patch and run the lights in several productions. I also assisted in a scenographic design class with all the students. I had advanced knowledge so I ended up helping. I was a technical director even as an under-grad at ETSU. I had my own set of keys to the ETSU theatre, and the props shop.
The statement you make that I have never had part in real theatre? What is a college level production? I took part in 14 Major productions and 20 smaller productions in college, and in community theatre locally. I still assist from time to time with the local community theatre’s here in my area. So I still am involved. I am not patient enough to teach, plus in actuality it does not pay enough.
I studied advanced directing methods, and directed 5 students to scholarships during a cattle call auditions and 8 others to land a job at touring companies in the same type cattle call auditions. They came to me to critique them and help them select material, and I had a success rate of 75%.
On to your next point. I quote from your e-mail, “I have acted and directed professionally,have produced more and acted in more nationally acclaimed plays than you have even read about.”
List the ones you have directed, and acted in, and at what level? Which newspapers, or articles gave you national acclaim? Did you join a touring company and travel? I’m trying to figure out if you think directing at a high school level is your idea of professional directing, because in reality it’s not. The level after college, ie. Touring companies, regional theatres (not community), and Broadway would be in the professional realm. In actuality I did not try after college for the professional route because after I took all the theatre classes I could I was paid to construct sets. I was paid by the ETSU theatre deparment for about 3 years, and even was hired to build sets in the surrounding Johnson City area. So I had my experience and got paid for it, and got to see what I thought about it. I loved theatre and working for certain directors was very time consuming so I chose not to follow that route fearing my love would be grinded under day to day toil. I am writing though. I have written one screen play and I am working on 3 more. For the one I have wrote I was recently paid by a company to reserve the rights to produce it. Since it’s under contract I can’t tell you what it is, but I can say it is copyrighted in the library of congress with my name on it. (You should look it up, it’s a good read) It is also on file with the East Coast’s writers guild.
Now let’s address the issue you have with my intelligence. I was and am ADHD, I could not keep seated at West LaFollette. At Coolidge elementary school I started in certain subjects on the standardized tests in the 4th grade to start scoring at the 12th grade level. By the fifth grade the majority of my scores were at the 12th grade level. As a teacher you may be able to look this up, and I do welcome it. At the middle school level I competed regionally against many schools at the Science Olympiad. I won many First and second place medals going against up to 12 other middle schools, including ones from Anderson county, and Knoxville county areas. I was on the original Scholars Bowl teams in high school, and Patrick joined me the very next year when he reached high school. In psychology class Mr. Prater gave an IQ test and out of a possible score of 160 I scored 160, with the base score of 100 being average. Patrick scored 155. In addition I won many awards during my course of middle school and high school. I have news paper clippings of all these, and many more over the years. In college I had a professionally administered IQ test (Stanford Binet) in a psychology class and scored 165 with 90-110 as a basis for the average IQ. Is this pseudo-intelligence?
The last point I’m going to address is you comment “Never had a real job”. Patrick was an Award winning Editor of a news paper. I actually am a paid public speaker. I have spoken at three events this year, but that is not my primary job. I work for a fortune 500 company, the division I work for has about 700 employees, and out of these 700 employees I typically rank about 32nd. In my market and Tennessee I have been the top for my company the past 2 years and tops in my market for the past 3. I am very well compensated. If I did not have a real job, why would they fly high producers like myself to locations such as 4 diamond resorts in Scottsdale, AZ, Marco Island, Fl, San Diego, and this coming year their flying us to Boca Raton to stay at Boca Raton Resort & Club. If this isn’t a real job I don’t know what is.
As far as an apology. I do apologize that the past kids and current kids couldn’t take part in the magic I had the pleasure to experience. I’m not better than anyone else. I have accomplished a lot. I’m not bragging. I just try harder after really not having anything growing up. I wanted something for myself. You still do have a chance to salvage that program, invite the community to participate, and treat them like you would like to be treated, and the theatre program can reach new heights. It’s much bigger than anyone person, no matter how qualified and how good you are. I will be very happy to accept your apology when you are ready.
I will try to scan in some pictures of the other sets from ETSU.


Ok now it’s my turn. 
You have at this point read the article Joe wrote on www.campbellcountytimes.com ,
the email blasting everybody he praised that Anne McGhee wrote, and  Joe’s very professional and intelligent

Now I am going to address a few of the same issues and touch
on a few things Joe didn’t.

Consider this my L. B. (listen bitch) conversation to the
alleged drama teacher at CCHS.

Her email was all over the place so this isn’t in any real
order but first I am going to tackle some of the question’s she asked.

For some reason the age I got my driver’s license seems
relevant to her.  I got it at the age of
19.  Why?  Because at the time and to this day I absolutely hate to
drive.  People were willing to drive me
and I let them.  I didn’t need it

Why do I hate my mother and sister?  Again not sure what this has to do with what
Joe wrote or the drama department but here goes.  They are awful.  Honestly
I can’t think of many worse human beings. 
They both live lifestyles that I don’t and my sister is married to such
a piece of garbage that I don’t consider her even part of my family
anymore.  Honestly if they both died
tomorrow I probably wouldn’t go to their funerals.

How long did it take me to get through college? Once again
still not sure what this has to do with her lack of putting on plays but I will
shoot on this one too.  It took me 8
years.  I  partied my ass off and I wouldn’t change anything except that
maybe I would have dragged it out to a full decade.  Oh I do have two bachelors degrees and a masters degree to show
for that time spent there.

I have never had a real job.  If by that she means I haven’t been a teacher sure.  I was a reporter and later sports editor of
the Volunteer Times, I even won a Tennessee Press Association award for
photography while I was there.  I have
done a few other things since then but for the most part I have been
self-employed and I’m not doing too awful bad for myself. Oh and there is that
little librarian thing.

Apparently she thinks we would have never acted and were
social misfits that would have never done anything in high school if I wasn’t
in the plays Yvonne Crutchfield and Arnold Jones produced.  Well let’s see what else did I do during
high school.  Hmmm…let’s see I was on
student council for four years and held the offices of sentinel and
parliamentarian, I was on a fairly successful scholar’s bowl team and as part
of that I even made it to some individual state level competitions, I was
sophomore class president (and literally lost senior class president by one
vote), I was on prom committee and was asked to be on it for my knowledge of
set building that I learned in Arnold Jones drama class because they wanted me
to build the gaudy prom decorations, I was involved in plenty of other clubs
but the eight years of college has made my memory there kinda fuzzy.

Ok so she felt sorry for me and allowed me to help her with
her productions.  Ok really she may have
but it wasn’t like I needed to spend hours up there working with her, really I
could have been out doing pretty much anything else.  I had and still have a pretty darn active social life.

I have to throw in a couple of more accomplishments.  I am a pretty darn good football coach.  I get offers to coach still to this
day.  I have coached a number of players
that went on to coach at the high school level including one currently coaching
at CCHS.

I had by far the most successful talk show in the history of
local TV, with all due respect for R.L. Gibson.  I am very proud that I entertained so many people for so many years.

Oh and along with Joe and some others I have developed and maintained
the most widely read website in Campbell County.  We got well over a million hits last year and I have the numbers and
stats to back that up.

I have been there for a lot of people over the years.  I have helped more people get through high school
and college than almost anybody here, hell Anne I have written at least three papers
for people in your classes in the last two years and got A’s on all three.  

So listen up bitch I will not stay away.  I will smile at you because you have to smile
at somebody who dresses like a damn Dick Tracy villain.  I will show you what good theatre is. You think
my time is coming.  I am not hard to find.


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