I Saw the Children Gather
50 Years of Summer at Harand Camp
Sulie and Pearl Harand were two exceptionally talented sisters.
They were well known Chicago entertainers.
Sulie was renowned for her one-woman adaptations of Broadway musicals.
Pearl was a member of the Chicago Repertory Theater (the Chicago equivalent of the Group Theater). She was also a comedienne known for writing original material.
In 1950 the Harand sisters began the first children's conservatory school for theater arts in Chicago; the only place that offered singing, dancing and dramatics all under one roof. Harand Camp was the outgrowth from the studio.
For over 50 years it has been a utopian experiment in which there was true equality, and every child was a "star." The Harand sisters, along with their husbands, not only taught kids to sing and dance and act, they also gave them a loving and nurturing environment to grow in. They built confidence and self-esteem that for many people has lasted a lifetime.
Sulie and Pearl probably didn't know when they started out 50 years ago, what effect they would have on so many lives. They are the unsung heroes of generations of children past and present. For many, Harand camp has literally been a life-saver, a place where fragile egos found boosting, a place to escape from domestic dysfunction or abuse, a place to discover an authentic "self", a place to make life-long friends.
I hope that future generations will be able to experience the Harand magic, and like generations before them will go out into the real world and make a difference.
There is no competition among actors. Each one gets a sense of 'I can', a sense of success. That little bit of ego-strength is what they go home with.
Sulie and Pearl made a tremendous contribution
to arts education. The Harand’s approach
should be reinvented today in the public schools.
Their model is an extraordinary model for teaching.
Lois Weisberg Commissioner,
of Cultural affairs