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Vilar Performing Arts Center’s STARS program brings classrooms to life in new season

September 15, 2023, 10:50 am

The Vilar Performing Arts Center (VPAC) recently issued the following press release on its STARS program:

Language arts, literature, composition, and creative writing – these are terms that Eagle County students are used to hearing in local classrooms. 

When students attend a free show at the Vilar Performing Arts Center (VPAC), they may not suspect that these topics are embedded in the themes of some of our valley’s best entertainment. 

Thanks to the VPAC’s STARS (Support The Arts Reaching Students) programming, all students in Eagle County have free access to eye-opening and inspiring performing arts experiences at the beautiful Vilar Performing Arts Center. 

Each performance ties in a component of children’s everyday classroom learning. Topics like literature and vocabulary are interwoven in the plays, concerts, musicals, and magic that are part of the STARS series.  

“We are grateful for the tremendous support of our community, and the enthusiastic participation of our schools, to be able to offer this exceptional programming,” said Mike Imhof, President of the Vail Valley Foundation, which operates the VPAC. “STARS is a way for our local youth to share in the lessons and ideas presented on the stage. It’s more than just a field trip, it’s wonderful, shared, experience that helps enrich the lives of all the students who participate.” 

STARS was a part of the VPAC’s very first season in 1998. The program began as a reduced-cost ticket offering to local students and teachers, but generous donations soon ensured that all STARS performances were free for local children. The late Pat and Pete Frechette led the way in helping fund the program. 

Then, in 2018, the Frechette Family Foundation created a $1 million endowment for the program, which ensured it would continue well into the future. 

In the 2022-23 season, the VPAC provided 8,295 free tickets to local youth through the program. 

“The STARS program exemplifies what our parents, Pat and Pete, felt makes the Vail Valley so special,” noted Kathy Frechette Tenhula and Kristy Frechette Woolfolk, Pete and Pat’s daughters who carry on their parents’ legacy through their work with the Frechette Family Foundation. “Our parents shared the same values about what community means. They wanted all children to have an opportunity to experience the theater, arts, music and other cultural activities. STARS continues to do just that, bringing joy and learning to children while creating access for those who may not have had it were it not for this program.”

Teachers and schools coordinate with the VPAC for ticketing, and transportation to and from the venue is also provided free of charge. 

“I have been a teacher in the valley for 9 years and we have utilized the STARS program several times each year,” said Matt Felton, a teacher at Red Sandstone Elementary School. “They provide a myriad of shows that encompass all walks of life. The STARS programs offer so many choices to the students of the valley to broaden their horizons in respect to the arts. This may be a transformative experience as students may not have much exposure to these art forms and after attending feel inspired to pursue a new avenue.”

The Vail Valley Foundation’s Martha Brassel coordinated early STARS performances as part of her duties at the VPAC during her tenure from 1998 through 2010. “When this program started, most elementary kids hadn’t seen anything like this before,” Brassel she said. “They got all dressed up and had an incredible time. Arts exposure is so important for children – and thanks to STARS it’s a part of each school year for almost all of our valley’s young people.”


This year, 12 shows are scheduled for the stage at the VPAC. Learn more at vilarpac.org/stars

Mariachi Los Camperos 

Friday, September 15th | 12:30PM 

Age Range: 2nd Grade & Up

Tomás and the Library Lady 

Thursday, October 5th | 10AM & 12:30PM 

Age Range: Grades K-5th Grade


Monday, January 29th |12:30PM 

Age Range: 3rd Grade & Up

BODYTRAFFIC: Bolero by Fernando Hernando Magadan 

Thursday, March 22nd |12:30PM 

Age Range: 3rd Grade & Up

The Boy Who Cried Wolf 

Tuesday, April 2nd |10AM & 12:30PM 

Age Range: PreK-5th (Ages 4-10 years)

Puppy Pals Live! 

Thursday, April 4th |12:30PM 

Age Range: Grades K-5th Grade


Thursday, April 15th |10AM & 12:30PM 

Age Range: Grades 3rd – 7th (Ages 8 – 13 years)

Visit vilarpac.org for more. 

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