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Scout project gives musicians a stage

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 13 June 2013 at 12:00 am

Photos by Tom Rivers – Allen Sanford has turned an old hay wagon into a mobile performing arts stage as part of his Eagle Scout service project.

ALBION – Allen Sanford and his band, Route 98, have played on lawns and makeshift stages in Albion.

Sanford, 17, is grateful for the gigs, but he wants to give musicians a better showcase for their talents. He has spent the past 18 months researching, designing and building a mobile performing arts stage.

Sanford has transformed a 16-by-8-foot hay wagon into a 28-by-8-foot mobile stage. He’s nearly done and will soon turn it over to the village of Albion, which can use it for concerts downtown, at Bullard Park and other locations in the community.

“It’s to advance music in the community,” Sanford said this evening while overseeing some finishing construction work on the stage.

Sanford chose the stage for his Eagle Scout service project. He designed the plans using a CAD program. He connected with donors for the project, met with village officials, and mobilized teams of Scouts and friends to build the stage.

Allen Sanford recruited his friends Charlene Olick, left, and Amber Smarpat to help build the stage that will be given to the village of Albion.

“I saved and recycled as much as I could without jeopardizing the integrity of the stage,” Sanford said. “Part of being a Boy Scout is being thrifty.”

He found used parts and cleaned them, for some pieces of the project. He negotiated a deal on wood from Stockham Lumber, and then sized and stained the material.

Sanford will graduate next week from Albion High School. He will study physics and engineering at Rochester Institute of Technology. The project let him put his engineering and leadership skills to use.

A member of Troop 60 that meets at the First Presbyterian Church, Sanford said Scouting has been a critical program for him, teaching many life skills. He has spent three years on the National Youth Leadership Training program through Scouts, and has worked on the staff at Camp Dittmer.

“Becoming an Eagle Scout is such an honor,” he said. “I have learned so much through the Scouting program.”