By Linda Dillman
A dream of Mark Frazier—a beloved teacher and director to thousands of Hamilton Local Schools students, who passed away in August 2022 after battling cancer—will come to fruition with a concert benefitting a scholarship fund established in his memory.
“Walk With Me,” a night of music featuring Hamilton Township High School graduates who performed in past musicals, will be held on Nov. 30 at 7 p.m. in the Mark Frazier Memorial Auditorium in Hamilton Township High School, 1105 Rathmell Road. All of the proceeds from the concert will benefit the Mark Frazier Memorial Scholarship fund.
The scholarship was established soon after Frazier’s passing by Dan Mummaw and is intended to fund higher education pursuits of any senior that spent time in any performing arts program—drama, band and/or choir, whether on stage or behind the scenes.
“Mark Frazier was a beloved teacher at Hamilton Township for over 30 years,” said Nicky Godfrey, who worked with Frazier as a student and member of the district staff. “He established the district’s drama program as the community knows it today. He was also instrumental in the design of the high school’s auditorium, which now bears his name. The benefit concert was Dan’s idea. He thought that bringing back alumni drama members to perform a concert, all of whom are former students of Mr. Frazier, would be a great way to raise funds for the scholarship.”
Fellow organizer Jen Kyre said the benefit is also a way of fulfilling one of the items on Frazier’s wish list to bring back alumni for an evening of performances.
Abbigayle Taylor, a 2023 graduate who is emceeing the concert, was the first recipient of a $500 Frazier scholarship in May. The fund is the first and only scholarship of its kind for the district that is specifically designated for performing arts graduates.
Hamilton 1996 graduate Anna Cherri, who played Dorothy in Frazier’s first production of “Wizard of Oz,” Peter Pan in his 1994 production, and who is singing “For Good” from “Wicked” during the benefit, said working with Frazier was like being in an “anxiety filled fever dream.”
“You hated him a lot, were terrified of him, and desperately wanted his approval, which he gave sparingly,” said Cherri. “I loved every minute of it. I miss performing, and singing while I clean my house doesn’t really count. I’m excited to participate in the benefit concert because I want Mr. Frazier’s legacy to live on.”
The phrase “Walk With Me” holds a special place in the hearts of those who performed in his musicals. Godfrey said it was a “Frazierism” he would use when he had an idea that he wanted to share while walking people through his vision.
“It became a mantra in the drama department,” Godfrey said.
Seating is $10 general admission. A ticket presale will be held on Nov. 29, 5:30-7 p.m., at the high school and at the door on Nov. 30 starting at 6:15 p.m. Both cash and credit card are accepted, courtesy of the band parents who are partnering with the drama department to organize the event and cover the cost of card processing fees.
Mummaw and Creative Cuisine are providing refreshments until 7 p.m., when the concert begins.
“There are 550 seats and we would love to fill each and every one,” said Godfrey. “One hundred percent of the price of admission will go into the scholarship fund. Everyone involved with the event is donating their time and talent. No one is being compensated.”
According to Godfrey, who is also one of the performers, concertgoers can expect to see many Hamilton Township drama alumni perform—spanning from the class of 1996 to the class of 2022—featuring covers of classic and contemporary Broadway songs.
“As an extra treat, the drama department will also be officially announcing the district’s Spring Musical at the close of the concert,” said Godfrey. “The concert is appropriate for all ages and for children, this would be a great introduction to the world of musical theater.”