Saturday, March 27, 2010

High School Musical

The reason that I'm only just now getting today's post in, well after midnight, is that I was out all night dancing at a Rave. Just kidding. I was actually attending a high school musical in Saratoga Springs, NY. But the fact that I said I was attending a Rave just totally shows that I am now totally an old lady.

When I sang one of my first professional Cenerentolas almost 10 years ago at Lake George Opera, I was lucky enough to have been placed in the carriage house of this really nice family who had two little daughters, who were I think 5 and 8 years old at the time. They would come knock on the door to my little apartment above their garage every day, and while their parents kept telling me, "we can tell them to stop if they're bothering you!!" the opposite was true. I've always felt a huge connection to children, especially little girls, so their daily visits were absolutely brightening my days there. And I developed a great friendship with that family, and have watched their adorable little girls grow up into poised and beautiful young ladies. Tonight Kate, who is now 17 (!!!!) and looking into possibly majoring in voice in college (!!!!!!!!) was performing in her high school musical, and I was lucky enough to receive an invitation. She has become an incredibly articulate, poised, thoughtful young lady, and I was very proud of her up on that stage tonight.

Watching the musical (It was "Bells are Ringing") got me thinking about the tradition of musicals in high schools. For me, having the chance to be in the choir, the musicals, and all things music and drama nerdy were my saviors, and what allowed me to have any social life whatsoever. But the high school musical also seems to bring the entire school together, as well as their parents, for a shared night of singing, dancing, and fantasy. For that night, kids who otherwise might not be the most socially acceptable or popular get to feel shiny, bright, and loved by everyone. Plus no one ever leaves the high school musical in anything other than a good mood. It's a really nice tradition we have here in the U.S. - but it made me wonder; what is the equivalent in European high schools? Schools in France, Italy, and Germany certainly don't perform musicals every year at their high school, so what do they do to bring together the nerds, the jocks, and the drama weirdos for one social status-free night? Do they all get together and sing the Bach Magnificat? It just wouldn't be the same as everybody walking out of the theater whistling "when you're a jet, you're a jet all the way." I'm always going on and on about how great everything is in Europe, but tonight reminded me that we have some good stuff here too.


Anonymous said...

That's an interesting question. I wonder. Certainly in the German-speaking countries, there is a great love of musicals from the US and England, and there are continual touring runs of them. Smaller opera houses think nothing of including one production in their regular season, also. They either do it through their own ensemble or the visiting company brings a sound system and they use microports for the soloists. Maybe you can ask around about the high school musical question and then post your findings. The high schools are more specialized in Europe and often kids are required to declare a major, so perhaps only in the musical programs?

C'est Moi said...

Just to let you know, Santa Rosa High just did an impressive "Chicago" under the direction of Kira Nikiforuk Bombace. (Salty language and all). There must be something in the water here to produce the ongoing musical programs and great talent we have here! Three cheers for high school music!

Incipit vita nova Ann said...

Thank you and your family for coming up! "Glee" has made being a music and drama geek cool on-screen, but the community created by a school musical (or any other team, for that matter) is what makes being a geek cool off-screen too. By the way, you can take a lot of the credit for Kate's future plans--and I thank you for that too...I think

Anonymous said...

I lived in Saratoga when I was in the third grade, and played a Munchkin in the high school's production of "Oz." I think I still have a program from that show, somewhere in a scrapbook!

mamascarlatti said...

Here in New Zealand my 14-year-old's high school is currently putting on Little Shop of Horrors -for which she is stage manager. The school hires a professional director, choreographer and voice coach, and everyone has a ball.
My daughter is so bitten by the stage bug that when we go to the Met's HD cinema showings we have to sit though all the intermissions so she can drool over the prodigiously organised and grandiose backstage and props.