- - -
An Historical Panorama
From PAYO Co-Presidents Patti Boles and Patty Carbone
PAYO was born in 1969 when local school districts began to eliminate arts programs as a means to control budgets. Fortunately the visionary Symphony Guild ladies, inspired by Bee Vradenburg, created the Performing Arts for Youth Organization, soon to be known as PAYO. The tenacious founding members: Zane Bowers, Dorothy Brown, Jane Emery, Clara Gloss, Ina Guyer, Jo Higginbotham, Mary Jane Rust and Sue Tyson with Vivian Weimer at the helm sought out local performing artists and channeled their talents into area schools to stimulate the educational process through dance, drama and music.
PAYO programs grew with rapid popularity among children and educators, who clamored for more. Eventually, PAYO board members initiated an audition process in order to select only the top performers to quench the youngsters growing thirst for exposure to the arts.
In the good old days, fund raising was simple. Students, teachers and friends plunked “pennies” into a jar which the performers took to each presentation. Over the past 35 years, PAYO’s programs have evolved from in-house school performances to year-round programs and partnerships with clubs, businesses and other organizations, such as city community centers. PAYO also continues to serve as a booking agent of school performances for the Colorado Springs Dance Theatre and other organizations.
In 2001, the PAYO Board of Directors decided to take a hiatus to review the need for and mission of the organization. After a one year’s absence, teachers, principals, administrators and the community asked “Where is PAYO?”. It was obvious to us as former committee members, that there was still a demand for a clearing house to provide auditioned performers for our schools and community.
Newly revived, PAYO reaches several thousand youth annually with live performances. We are also striving to reach under-served populations and to develop programs to address the needs of students and educators, for instance the anti-bullying content provided by several performers on this year’s roster. Our goal is to continue to expand and broaden our offerings to larger and more diverse audiences. You can help by choosing performers from our roster and scheduling them through PAYO.