What a Show!
May 12th, 2015
It’s hard for me wrap my mind around the fact that we just put on our 3rd annual Music Makers Spring Concert. As we close out the third school year of having Performing Arts programming at the Clubs full-time, I am so thankful for all the support we receive from our Board of Directors, our Executive Director Rick Huisman, our staff and you, our supporters. It’s an amazing process to watch young people find confidence and feel successful expressing themselves through the Arts. Allow me to shine a small light on how the process of putting on our concerts works…
First of all, the Performing Arts staff (consisting of myself, Deborah Carroll and Titus Hankins) begin to talk about what the concert will look like and what we hope to achieve. Then we take it to the kids; what songs do they want to perform? We compile a list and see what resonates the most and feels organic. Deborah and Titus begin to teach the singers their parts, and I begin to put together the BGC Band arrangements with our young guitarists, pianists, and percussionists/drummers. For many weeks and months, we rehearse. And rehearse. And rehearse. Of course, along the way we laugh, we smile. We might have a moment of frustration, but we always push through.
Finally, show week comes. We take members from all three locations and bus them to Wealthy Theatre the day before the show for the one rehearsal they will have together. Yes, one rehearsal together. You’d be astonished at how wonderfully they all work together to achieve our common goal, even though they don’t always know one another. They’ve all learned the same music, so that is our common bond. We practice getting on and off stage and run as much of the show as we can.
Show day – it arrives in a flurry of excitement and nerves. T-shirts and programs are being picked up from the printers. Rosters, food for the performer after-party, and “Performers Only” VIP signs are made. Everyone heads to the theatre, and we prepare for a stellar evening. The atmosphere is full of energy and anticipation. We give them the final pep talk about five minutes before we take the stage, and we’re off!
This year’s concert consisted of many songs with a common theme: love and acceptance. Colbie Caillat’s “Try” states “Look into the mirror, at yourself/ Don’t you like you?/ Cause I like you.” Another highlight this year was performing “Glory” by John Legend and Common which focuses on the Civil Rights Movement. It was an emotional performance which had many of us near tears. We closed the show with every single performer on stage singing and playing “Uptown Funk” by Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars, complete with an extended jam session at the end that had the kids dancing and moving while they sang. And this little number too...
Our 3rd Spring Concert was a night we will never forget. Our members felt successful and happy, and seeing that written on their faces was the icing on the cake. There is no doubt in my mind that this program changes lives. I see it every day. Having the opportunity to go out and perform for the community was a perfect way to close out another fantastic school year of Performing Arts programming. Here’s to more magical moments ahead of us!
– Casey Stratton, Director of Performing Arts