Friday, March 15, 2019

Saturday Showcase: The Faculty Musical

This time last week, players from our faculty musical were reliving moments from the show in our WhatsApp group chat. Anna Criens,  music teacher and mother of three, played the witch in our show. Her daughters were in the show too as a little hen and a gnome, so cute. Last Saturday morning, her girls were up earlier, dressed in costumes and performing a scene between Jack and his mother.  Anna sent everyone a video clip of her daughter singing Jack's mother's parts of the Prologue. 

Lucinda, Cinderella and I rocking our 1950s Victory roll hair-dos. 

There's the step family frozen in the background! 

Last Friday we closed the faculty musical with our third performance of Into the Woods. Here's a clip from our warm-up backstage. 

The faculty musical was fun for so many reasons. It gave me an opportunity to get to know people that I do not see or work directly with day to day. It stretched me out of my comfort zone. The musical gave us a common goal to work toward. It also taught me a lot about learning. 

I struggled. I struggled with reading music. I'dforgottent how since my violin and piano playing days in high school. That in an of itself reminded me of how complex a skill reading is-- and how it differs across contexts. I struggled with focusing on my cues. I would get swept up in the story and the performances of others--we had some amazing talent in the cast. Each time that happened, each time I missed a cue during rehearsal I would realize it just a couple counts too late.  Doh! Again and again I had opportunities to learn how to manage my embarrassment at my mistake(s). I am sure it frustrated our stars and our director, but they didn't react; they encouraged. 

Here are ten take aways. 

  1. Connect:  reach out for extra help if you need it. 
  2. Listen to the music, to cues,  to other people: their stories, their experience. 
  3. Practice may not make perfect, but it does make permanent. Put in the time. 
  4. Be present. Be with the people onstage and in the wings. 
  5. Encourage and support each other.
  6. Persist. Even as you fail and fail again, keep at it. Effort matters. Find a way to make it work.
  7. Be kind. When learners struggle, encourage and support. Learners make mistakes and those mistakes aren't personal, so why punish the learner for learning? 
  8. Pitch in. We rarely had a rehearsal with everyone in it. Our schedules here at Singapore American School are demanding and layered. Whenever a role was not filled, someone else from the case would read those lines during rehearsal. I know it must not have been easy for Florinda and Lucinda to cover for me when I was traveling with the students in the final two weeks before rehearsal. They pitched in and it all came together in the end!
  9. Share: stories, photos, smiles, laughter, little jokes on stage and off. 
  10. Have fun. Ultimately, we did. I did. The success of the show was absolutely fun and delightful. Imagine elementary school learners greeting their now "famous" teachers after the show as they exit the theatre. It was heart warming to witness that love and joy.

 I am still dreaming songs from the show.  Why I wake up around midnight to "there are giants in the sky" is a mystery.  I love it though and now I know all the words. Being a part of the faculty musical was quite and experience. What a team builder for a faculty! Beth Burrows, third-grade teacher and our director, has begun some powerful magic with this program. Magic for teacher families who have the opportunity to perform together. Magic for faculty to get to know one another and to work together to create something wonderful. Magic for students and our community who get to see their teachers in new lights. It was rewarding to play even my small part. 

The Into the Woods cast during the finale. 


  1. A Faculty Musical sounds like a wonderful event! Your picture at the end of the post reminds me of when I was in Into the Woods five years ago. What was your part?

    1. Itbis a fabulous show. I was Cinderella’s step-mother. What part were you?

  2. How fun! I love how you linked the performance lessons with life lessons. I wrote about our school's primary production today in my slice. What a coincidence! :)

  3. Love your takeaways! What fun!