How very fortunate we are in the Baton Rouge area to have such a great abundance of singing and performance arts talent in the people of our area. And it is available to us at such little cost.

This I realized while attending the Beaux Arts Ball on June 4, when awards for the best performances during the past year were presented to a dozen or more actors, singers and backstage workers at the Baton Rouge Little Theater.

To think that these winners and more than 200 others (men, women and children) volunteer their talent to perform in some eight plays each year is truly remarkable.

It is a great gift when one considers the amount of time a performer has to give for every play. No one is paid except the director and minimal staff. Everybody else is a volunteer. I get all this for $80 a year. The best deal in town.

There are 20 to 30 nights each person has to devote to practice, then about a dozen more to the actual performances. What a gift, and for no compensation except the joy of doing it, and the prospect of a full- or part-time artistic career, which fortunately has been the experience of many.

Edward J. Steimel, former president

Louisiana Association of Business and Industry

Baton Rouge