Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Value of the High School Musical

During the month of October and very beginning of November we are in the midst of finishing up many reports that are required by the Iowa Department of Education. Every year it seems as though additional information is needed and it takes a little bit longer to complete these reports. This fall was especially busy as I tried to wrap up a few extra items related to some personal goals (more on that another time). Anyway at the conclusion of this data reporting period, it was a good time to get away for a little vacation! When my wife and I were planning our destination, there was only one stipulation: I had to be home in time to see the musical. Well, we made it and I am so glad that I was able to see this amazing show!

It's no secret that this annual event has become a favorite of mine. Each year I look forward to hearing what show Mrs. Anderson has in mind, and when she shares here plans I get excited to see her vision come to life! She has such a passion and creative energy--I think you all would agree with me that we are very fortunate to have Mrs. Anderson as a member of our faculty! She has the ability to bring together a multitude of people across various academic disciplines--and as such created a production that delighted our community the entire run of the show.

Of course, there is no mistaking the fact that Mrs. Anderson couldn't accomplish this feat without the help of some other pretty amazing folks! I think first we have to take note of the phenomenal talent that we have at our disposal. Year after year, we continue to have musicians in our school that are so incredibly talented. While many schools might only be able to pull off a musical of this magnitude once every three or four years, we are able to do so with consistency year after year. Not only are we able to sustain a high caliber program like this, we are able to set the bar higher each year! It's almost as if we say, "If you like what we did this time, just wait until you see what we do next." Congratulations to the outstanding actors and actresses who worked so hard and put in the time to make this show a success!

I argue there is perhaps no other high school activity that crosses curricular boundaries in the same manner as the high school musical. The biggest and most obvious is the music and vocal technique that is required to put on a show. Has anyone noticed the growth of these musicians over the last several years? I have, and this kind of academic growth doesn't take place without hard work, tons of practice, and learning by doing. There were undoubtedly long evenings of rehearsal, more rehearsal, and doing it 'just one more time' because it wasn't quite the way it was envisioned. The practice to learn the notes, the lines, and the blocking schemes are all what have enabled our young people to become Quality Producers, and to create something that they are quite proud of!

There are many other academic disciplines at work in the production of a stage show. For example, you may wonder: Is physical education involved in the production of a high school musical? Well, if you took note of the choreography and complex dance routines that were part of this production you could make a pretty convincing argument that P.E. is a big part of putting on a show like this. You can also bet that there were numerous discussions about healthy living and taking care of yourself while this show was in production. The last thing that we would want to have happen is for our actors and actresses to become ill right before show time! These are certainly many of the same type of topics that are regularly covered in physical education and health class! Being a Knowledgeable Person requires our students to have a depth of knowledge that is well rounded and and steeped in content across a vast array of curricular areas.

Gaston explains to Belle what a great 'catch' he is!
Certainly you noticed the colorful sets and intricate backdrops, not to mention the costumes that would put many professional grade productions to shame! These important components of putting on a high school musical are made possible through a network of parent volunteers, teacher volunteers, and students who wanted to be part of something special. This musical truly is a testament to the concept of interdependent accountability and being a Collaborative Worker. Each person that was involved in this show had to rely on someone else doing their part in order to present the successful evening of entertainment that we all enjoyed. I was pleased to see a special nod in in the acknowledgements to the shop classes at Hudson High School. These students added a lot to the show with construction of set pieces that helped transform us all to that land so far away where Belle and Company reside!

There is no doubt that our young people learned a lot about what it takes to put on a high school musical the last several months. But I contend they learned much more than meets the eye. They learned about the value of commitment and hard work. They learned that nothing comes easy, and that there is no greater reward than seeing your hard work work pay off. These lessons will stay with them and will be some of the greatest memories they have of their high school experience. Indeed, they have built up their Internal Assets by being part of this show.

Congratulations again to the cast, crew, parents and volunteers for all you did to make this musical a successful and education event for our students. I am so very proud of you!

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