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Silver Lake superintendent moves to Fillmore Central

The Silver Lake Public School superintendent has taken an equivalent position at Fillmore Central Public Schools, effective for the 2020-21 school year.

Josh Cumpston will begin his career as superintendent at Fillmore Central Public Schools in July. He was confirmed by the Fillmore Central Board of Education in December, according to Fillmore Central school board meeting minutes.

“Josh has got a lot of energy,” said PJ O’Connor, Fillmore Central board president. “He’s got a positive attitude and a lot of experience.”

Fillmore Central Superintendent Mark Norvell will be retiring after 15 years serving in the superintendent position. O’Connor said the school board wishes him well.

“Mark’s been a good leader for our school,” O’Connor said.

Terry Bauer, Silver Lake’s current high school principal and activities director, will succeed Cumpston as superintendent, beginning in July.

Bauer applied for the position, along with other candidates, in January, said Leon Lutkemeier, president of Silver Lake’s Board of Education.

“The entire Silver Lake District welcomes Terry Bauer to his new position,” Lutkemeier said. “The Board of Education is looking forward to working with Mr. Bauer in the years to come.”

Silver Lake is advertising and receiving applications for the high school principal and activities director positions.

Lutkemeier said they were glad to have Cumpston as superintendent and Fillmore Central is fortunate to get him.

“Fillmore Central is getting a very good administrator who brings a tremendous amount of skill and energy to the job. He is excellent at preparing a budget, and has great communication skills,” Lutkemeier said. “Silver Lake is going to miss him and his lovely family.”

Cumpston was born in Lexington and is a graduate of Hastings College. His first job in education was a teacher at the old Hastings Middle School building for six years. He then served as the Blue Hill principal for two years, then returned to serve as an assistant principal at Hastings Senior High for five years.

Cumpston was then the principal at Hastings Middle School before becoming superintendent in 2011 at Nebraska Christian Schools in Central City. Cumpston took his position as Silver Lake superintendent in the summer of 2018.

Bauer has served as the Silver Lake High principal since 2015. Before that, he was a physical education and health teacher for eight years, also at Silver Lake.

Silver Lake Public Schools is located in Adams and Webster counties. Fillmore Central is located in Fillmore County.

Honor musicians cap festival with concert

Students from across Nebraska — and one from Georgia — capped their Hastings College Honor Festival experiences with a lively concert that drew standing ovations for the Honor Chamber Orchestra, Choir and Band Saturday afternoon at Kiewit Gymnasium.

The more than 100 honor students performing at the festival were informed before the performance that each had been awarded $7,000-per-year scholarships to the college, which drew applause from the parents, teachers, HC faulty and others who packed the gymnasium to offer support and hear the highly talented performers interpret diverse selections of music with voice and instrument.

lbeahm / Laura Beahm/Tribune  

Cello players Francesca Padgett of Kearney High (front) and Erin Barnhill of Norfolk rehearse Friday for the Hastings College Honor Band.

Clinicians conducting the performance were Byron Jensen, distinguished professor in music at HC, orchestra; Dennis Glocke, director of concert bands at Pennsylvania State University, band; and Bret Amundson, dean of the school of arts and letters at the college of St. Scholastica in Deluth, Minnesota, choir.

Now in his 10th year of hosting clinics, Amundson said on Friday he hoped to give students more than musical notes and theories to think about as they performed musical selections rooted in hope and emotional comfort.

“I love when notes are in tune but that’s not the first goal,” he said. “The first goal is that you are singing from the heart and telling a story about who you are, and that you are learning a little bit about who you are in the process.”

lbeahm / Laura Beahm/Tribune  

Norfolk High School’s Ben Wicker rehearses with members of the Hastings College Honor Band Friday.

Louie Eckhardt, festival and department chair of music and theater at HC, said students were selected to participate in the festival based on audition recordings provided to the college. Their final performance together Saturday showcased just how successful the clinic was in providing them with new tools and techniques to share as they return to their respective schools, he said.

“Probably the most important goal is to create great art, bringing people together to speak this common language of music,” he said. “They come together from completely different backgrounds, different communities and different programs to create this beauty together.

lbeahm / Laura Beahm/Tribune  

Grand Island Senior High band director John Jacobs works with Grand Island student Julia Myers during a Hastings College Honor Band rehearsal on campus Friday.

“They take what they learn and their experiences here home with them and provide musical leadership there. Some of them are going to go on to be professional musicians, but that’s not necessarily the goal. The goal for them is to love music.”

Students and clinicians alike delight in the upbeat environment each year, with students gaining new friends and valuable tips from instructors eager to impart their knowledge on burning ears.

“For most of these students these are the best ensembles they get to play with, so being able to do that and make music at a much higher level than they are used to only makes them better musicians,” Eckhardt said. “It’s a great experience.

“Everybody is really motivated to do this. They come here and make amazing progress over just a couple days. When you’re in an ensemble where you don’t need to worry as much about technique because everybody is of a higher acumen, you can really get into the artistic part quicker, things like balance and phrasing and making a musical statement.

lbeahm / Laura Beahm/Tribune  

Matthew Dahlke and fellow orchestra members rehearse Friday for the Hastings College Honor Band.

“Sometimes it’s beyond just fixing notes and fixing rhythms and making sure you crescendo. One thing about music is that it says something that can’t be said in words. It’s hard to describe, but when everybody is on the same page doing it together and these musical things happen, everything comes alive and it’s a really magical thing for everyone involved.”

Honor students weighed in on their experiences during a 30-minute break between clinical sessions Friday at HC. Second-year festival participant clarinetist Matea Jerkovic, 16, is a junior at Lincoln Southeast High School. An aspiring music teacher, she said the festival has become a haven for absorbing new musical ideas and techniques from clinicians and fellow musicians alike.

“It’s really, really great to be able to work with a guest conductor like Mr. Glocke,” she said. “ It’s really helpful seeing different ways that they teach. It helps me learn what way I can learn better.

“I think we’re all learning from each other. Getting to work with everyone has just been amazing. We’ve been improving greatly.”

For Hastings High School french horn player A.J. Marousek, 17, the festival represents his third go-around as an honors musician. He said with each festival comes opportunities to learn new ideas to enhance his overall knowledge of music, ideas he figures to find useful as he continues his education at HC with majors in music education and music performance.

“They (clinicians) are always going to give you different advice, tell you new things about your instrument that you might not know,” he said. “The reason I like to come here is because I plan on coming to Hastings College, but also I really like the environment here. Everybody is really positive and likes to be here. It’s just a really good honor band to come to.”

Playing alongside the state’s top high school musicians elevates all participants to a higher performance level, creating a learning environment conducive to advancement, he said.

“It’s a lot easier working with musicians who have a lot more knowledge because they know what to listen to,” he said. “You just have a better mental connection with everybody around you so you can just make a better sound in general. It’s just a great experience.”

First-time Hastings High Choir bass singer Jonah Smith, 16, said he appreciates the opportunity to work with high-level vocalists — clinicians and fellow choir members alike — as he strives for personal growth.

“Just being able to sing along with members of the Hastings College Choir already makes us sound better from the beginning,” he said. “Also, we get all the different stylistic tips from our clinician. I feel like it’s helping a lot.”

Though he has no plans to pursue a career in music, Smith nevertheless appreciates getting together with students who share his love of vocal music.

“I love being able to find people that we automatically have something to connect over,” he said. “A bond is immediately there.”

Firefighter retires after nearly three decades

As a young man, Craig Oswald of Hastings knew he wanted to join the city’s fire department and worked toward that goal for more than a decade.

“My dad always taught me to help people,” Oswald said. “He was always stopping to help people.”

He first applied at Hastings Fire and Rescue in 1977, but openings were less frequent and it was common for dozens of candidates to apply for each position. He was passed over during several rounds of applications until July 1991 when the department opted to bring him into the fold.

Since that time, Oswald has been an asset to the department. He worked about four years before being promoted to lieutenant. After around six years in that position, he became a captain.

lbeahm / Laura Beahm/Tribune  

Captain Craig Oswald speaks Friday during his retirement reception at Lincoln Park Fire Station.

Oswald, now 62, has decided to hang up his firefighter’s helmet after 18 years as captain, for a total fo 28 years of service to the department. His final day was Friday, during which a reception was held for him at Lincoln Park Fire Station.

Friends and family visited to congratulate Oswald on his retirement. He received the flag that flew over the station on his final day, as well as a plaque from the firefighters’ union.

One of the newest firefighters also made a wooden replica of the department’s Maltese Cross design as a wall decoration for Oswald as well. He said he was touched by the gesture.

Former Fire Chief Kent Gilbert said he appreciated the hard work Craig put into the job. He was always persistent making sure the people under him were well trained

“He would always go through, around, over or under anything that got in his way while helping people,” Gilbert said. “I’m sure he’s going to be missed.”

Todd Brehm, a former co-worker of Oswald’s for more than a decade before he left to work at the Nebraska State Fire Marshal’s Office, said he had many fond memories of Oswald. He said the department is losing a wealth of institutional knowledge as well as an understanding of area structures and locations.

“He’s going to be missed,” Brehm said. “He understood what it means to say we’re members of a brotherhood of service.”

Assistant Fire Chief Curt Smith said Craig was a great leader in the department.

“He’s a lead-by-example kind of guy,” Smith said. “He motivates his crew to try to keep up with him.”

Oswald said he was never comfortable asking anyone to do something that he wasn’t willing to do first. He felt that approach generally earned him the respect of his subordinates.

He said he enjoyed being able to work in a profession where he could help people on a regular basis.

Although retiring from fire service, he will continue to work as a truck driver. While working full time as a firefighter, he has maintained a second job as a truck driver on a part-time basis.

“I love everybody here,” Oswald said. “I hate to leave. But it’s been a good run. It really is a great career.”

In a win for the world, 'Parasite' takes best picture Oscar
Chris Pizzello  

Scarlett Johansson, left, congratulates Laura Dern, winner of the award for best performance by an actress in a supporting role for “Marriage Story” at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.

LOS ANGELES — Subtitle this: “Parasite” is the first non-English language film to win best picture in the 92-year history of the Academy Awards.

Bong Joon Ho’s masterfully devious class satire took Hollywood’s top prize at the Oscars on Sunday night, along with awards for best director, best international film and best screenplay. In a year dominated by period epics — “1917,” “Once Upon a Time ... In Hollywood,” “The Irishman” — the film academy instead went overseas, to South Korea, to reward a contemporary and unsettling portrait of social inequality in “Parasite.”

True to its name, “Parasite” simply got under the skin of Oscar voters, attaching itself to the American awards season and, ultimately, to history. The win was a watershed moment for the Academy Awards, which has long been content to relegate international films to their own category.

Multiple standing ovations greeted Bong’s several wins. “I am ready to drink tonight,” Bong said, prompting roars from the crowd. Unexpectedly called up again for best director, Bong saluted his fellow nominees, particularly Martin Scorsese, and concluded: “Now I’m ready to drink until tomorrow.”

The win for “Parasite” — which had echoes of the surprise victory of “Moonlight” over “La La Land” three years ago — came in year in which many criticized the lack of diversity in the nominees and the absence of female filmmakers. But the triumph for “Parasite” enabled Hollywood to flip the script, and signal a different kind of progress.

In doing so, the film academy turned away another history-making event, again denying Netflix its first best-picture win despite two contenders in “The Irishman” and “Marriage Story,” and a big-spending awards campaign blitz.

All of the acting winners — Brad Pitt, Renee Zellweger, Joaquin Phoenix and Laura Dern — went as expected.

Few categories were more certain coming into Sunday’s Oscars than best supporting actor, which Pitt has had locked down all awards season. While Pitt (who in 2014 shared in the best picture win for “12 Years a Slave,” as was a producer) has regaled audiences with one-liners in the run-up to the Oscars, he began his comments on a political note.

Jordan Strauss 

Laura Dern, winner of the award for best performance by an actress in a supporting role for "Marriage Story", poses in the press room at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.

“They told me I have 45 seconds to speak, which is 45 seconds more than the Senate gave John Bolton this week,” Pitt said, alluding to the impeachment hearings. “I’m thinking maybe Quentin does a movie about it.”

Pitt said the honor had given him reason to reflect on his fairy-tale journey in the film industry, going back to when he moved to Los Angeles from Missouri. “Once upon a time in Hollywood,” said Pitt. “Ain’t that the truth.”

Most of the early awards went according to forecasts, including Dern winning for her performance as a divorce attorney in Noah Baumbach’s “Marriage Story.” Accepting her first Oscar, Dern thanked her in-attendance parents, “my legends, Diane Ladd and Bruce Dern.”

For the 87th time, no women were nominated for best director this year, a subject that was woven into the entire ceremony — and even into some attendees’ clothing. Natalie Portman wore a cape lined with the names of female filmmakers who weren’t nominated for best director, including Lulu Wang (“The Farewell”), Greta Gerwig (“Little Women”) and Mati Diop (“Atlantics”).

Coming on a rare rainy day in Los Angeles, the ceremony was soggy and song-heavy. Some performances, like Eminem’s performance of “Lose Yourself,” were unexpected (and drew a wane response from Martin Scorsese). All of the song nominees performed, including Elton John who won with his longtime songwriting partner Bernie Taupin for their “Rocketman” tune.

The hostless ceremony opened on a note of inclusion, with Janelle Monae performing “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” and her own song, “Come Alive,” with an assist from Billy Porter. “I’m so proud to be standing here as a black queer artist telling stories,” Monae said. “Happy Black History Month.”

Jordan Strauss 

Laura Dern, winner of the award for best performance by an actress in a supporting role for "Marriage Story", poses in the press room at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.

Two former Oscar hosts, Chris Rock and Steve Martin, provided the opening monologue. “An incredible demotion,” Martin called it. Martin also reminded that something was missing from this year’s directing nominees. “Vaginas!” Rock replied.

There were milestones, nevertheless. In winning best adapted screenplay for his Nazi satire “Jojo Rabbit,” the New Zealand filmmaker Taika Waititi became the first indigenous director ever to win an Oscar. He dedicated the award to “all the indigenous kids in the world who want to do art, dance and write stories.”

“We are the original storytellers,” Waititi said.

“Joker” composer Hildur Gudnadottir became only the third woman to ever win best original score. “To the girls, to the women, to the mothers, to the daughters who hear the music opening within, please speak up,” said Gudnadottir. “We need to hear your voices.”

Awards were spread around to all of the best-picture nominees, with the lone exception being Martin Scorsese’s 10-time nominee “The Irishman.”

“1917,” acclaimed for its technical virtuosity, took awards for Roger Deakins’ cinematography, visual effects and sound mixing. The car racing throwback “Ford v Ferrari” was also honored for its craft, winning both editing and sound editing. Gerwig’s Louisa May Alcott adaptation “Little Women” won for Jacqueline Durran’s costume design. “Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood” for Barbara Ling’s production design.

Jordan Strauss 

Laura Dern, winner of the award for best performance by an actress in a supporting role for "Marriage Story", poses in the press room at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.

Netflix came in with a leading 24 nominations. Along with the win for “Marriage Story,” the streamer’s “American Factory” won best documentary. The film is the first release from Barack and Michelle Obama’s Higher Ground Productions. No studio has spent more heavily this awards season than Netflix, which is seeking its first best picture win after coming up just shy last year with “Roma.”

Pixar extended its domination of the best animated film category, winning for “Toy Story 4.” It’s the 10th Pixar film to win the award and second “Toy Story” film to do so, following the previous 2010 installment.

It was an early award for the Walt Disney Co. which despite last year amassing a record $13 billion in worldwide box office and owning the network the Oscars are broadcast on, played a minor role in the ceremony. The bulk of its awards came from 20th Century Fox (“Ford v Ferrari”) and Fox Searchlight (“Jojo Rabbit”), both of which the company took control of after its $71.3 billion acquisition of 21st Century Fox last year.

Chris Pizzello 

Eminem performs "Lose Yourself" at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.

Disney’s ABC, which is broadcasting the show live, hoped a widely watched field of nominees — including the $1 billion-grossing “Joker,” up for a leading 11 awards — will help viewership. Last year’s show garnered 29.6 million viewers, a 12% uptick.

In a year of streaming upheaval throughout the industry, this year’s Oscar favorites were largely movies released widely in theaters. They also predominantly featured male characters and came from male directors.

After a year in which women made significant gains behind the camera, no female directors were nominated for best director. The acting categories are also the least diverse since the fallout of #OscarsSoWhite pushed the academy to remake its membership. Cynthia Erivo (“Harriet”) is the only actor of color nominated. Those results, which have been a topic in speeches through awards season, stand in contrast to research that suggests the most popular movies star more people of color than ever before.