Part of the Winchester community is the amazing theater opportunities offered here for people of all ages. Shenandoah University offers many of these opportunities, such as the Shenandoah Conservatory Arts Academy in Old Town Winchester, the shows performed at the university’s main theater, Ohrstrom Bryant Theater, and the summer musicals performed through the Shenandoah Summer Music Theater (SSMT) program at the university. Many people in this community take these things for granted, as they do not realize that it is quite unique to have such amazing shows and opportunities close by and so involved in our community. However, without Professor Harold (Hal) Herman, none of these things would exist.
Herman came to Shenandoah in 1973 with a passion for theater. He taught at Shenandoah for 33 years and helped build the theater program tremendously, as well as found the summer music program offered at the university, SSMT, in which many of our own students have performed before. The professor always wanted to start this type of program and wished to offer students a realistic experience of the theatrical world before graduating. In his years of service, the program had a total of 124 performances with him directing many, as well as playing Tevye in “Fiddler on the Roof” in each reprise the university executed.
Professor Hal Herman died of pneumonia on January 13th, 2016. As Shenandoah University and our community as a whole grieves, many are sharing memories and thoughts about Herman on the Shenandoah University website (http://www.su.edu/blog/2016/01/13/harold-hal-herman-april-1-1932-january-13-2016/). As Herman retired, many funds and endowments have been made in his name, including the Harold Herman SSMT Endowment Fund, the Harold Herman Chair in Music Theatre, and the Harold Herman Scholarship Fund for Theatre, which are open for contributions.
We all have Hal Herman to thank, as the entire community of Winchester would be completely different if it were not for this one man and his dream to educate.