By Kathy King Johnson
Nearly 100 years ago, Andrew Kurtz’ great-great aunts, Jessie and Harriet Clark sang and danced on the Opera House stage in a benefit for Saint Mary’s Church. In the 1980s, his grandmother Susan Blum appeared with the Northland Players. With showbiz in his veins and the support of his family and community, Kurtz was destined for the stage.
“From my immediate family to my teachers at Bishop Baraga, I have always been pushed towards the stage. For instance, my grandma Susan Blum started me in piano lessons at the age of 5,” Kurtz said.
As a young child, Kurtz’s teachers at Bishop Baraga encouraged him to take part in the Spring Program at the Opera House. Since the early 1880s, the spring programs have been a yearly tradition. Early Cheboygan schools put on shows and graduated their students from the Opera House stage. Now it’s called the Youth Art Festival. All schools, public or private, and all home-schoolers are invited to participate in the spring programs at no cost to the families, the schools or the audience.