As excited as PHS Theatre was to be nominated for 18 Jester Awards this year for "Shrek, The Musical," and "Band Geeks," and as excited as cast, crew, directors and parents were to get to travel in charter busses to the Jester Award Ceremony in Wichita and walk the red carpet, a vital piece of our program was missing and that made it bittersweet: Derek wasn't there to celebrate with us, and he certainly earned every right to. He was "Elliot" in "Band Geeks," which was nominated for Outstanding Small Ensemble ("Twirler Girl") and he was "Pinocchio" in "Shrek," which received numerous nominations and won nearly all of them.
Derek also bears the distinction of having been part of past Jester Award nominations as "Nicely Nicely Johnson" in "Guys & Dolls" and as "Lucas" in "Loserville."
So it was a marvelous moment, as well as a tearful one, to hear the Jester emcee pause the award ceremony for a special recognition and tribute to Derek up on the big screen. The recognition drew huge applause not just from the 120 PHS representatives, but from the rest of the house, as well. He was gone, but definitely was not forgotten. And he WAS a part of the ceremony, after all.
PHS Theatre loves as misses you every day, Derek.
With tears, smiles, and gratitude, the Friends of PHS Performing Arts and everyone affiliated with the PHS Theatre Program would like to publicly recognize Thespian Troupe 6325 and Theatre Department at Blue Valley West High School under the direction of Laurie Vanderpool.
The school's annual Theatre Olympics production, held a week ago, raised $649, and all of it was donated to the Derek Brumbaugh Scholarship at Pittsburg High School.
Blue Valley West Senior Clayton Henriksen reached out to our Friends group on Facebook after learning of Derek’s death and the scholarship fund that had been established in his name.
“I speak for our whole department when I say our hearts are breaking for you and the whole Pittsburg community. We were all very sad to hear of Derek’s death. We loved him in ‘Band Geeks’ at State,” he wrote.
Every year in May, the BVW Theatre Department hosts a variety show and competes in teams to raise money for several charities.
“It consists of games, scenes, and goofy songs,” Vanderpool said.
This year, Henriksen and other students proposed that they instead raise money for the scholarship fund.
"We were glad to do this," Vanderpool said, "from one Thespian troupe to another in Kansas. Your loss is our loss."
— Andra Stefanoni
Friends of PHS Performing Arts
This page, "Story of My Life: A Tribute to Derek Brumbaugh," will be authored by the many people whose lives were touched in some way big or small by Derek Brumbaugh. It will be maintained by a student and a parent volunteer. Memories, photos, and video clips may be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org for posting here.