Reflection On The Secondary Years Musical Production

Jan Stipek, Secondary Years Principal February 28, 2019
Reflection On The Secondary Years Musical Production

What a phenomenal success this year’s musical production has been!

We set the bar very high two years ago with the Wizard of Oz and, naturally, the expectations were quite high this year. Judging by the comments from the audience (both GEMS and non-GEMS) and the ticket sales, I believe we exceeded those expectations.

The set, costumes, make-up and props were elaborate and impressive: just to name a few, Catherine from Grade 7 transformed into a 100-year-old grandmother and Benaia from Grade 10 became Fester with the bald head and no neck!

This was the first time our production was supported by a live orchestra during the performance. The students (and staff) impressively tackled an extremely difficult task of a live musical soundtrack. Most pieces included two to three key changes (once you get comfortable playing in a difficult minor key, the composer throws you by changing everything to a major key to match the mood change of whatever is happening on stage). The orchestra had to respond to any nuanced changes in delivery by actors to perform as one united body.

The students performed in front of 607 audience members on the opening night and in front of 537 at the matinee. Due to popular demand, we had to re-open our booking system to add more seats for the matinee. These are impressive numbers and it really shows great support from our school community. We've also arranged a special preview performance for invited elderly from the local senior citizens’ home.

An event like this definitely requires a suitable venue. We are very fortunate to have a state-of-the-art facility which enables us to put together a full-on production such as The Addams Family. And, more importantly, this allows students to gain a full stage experience - from acting with head microphones to learning how to operate the lights and sound.

The main reason schools put on productions such as these is because they facilitate an enormous learning opportunity. Students involved in any part of the production learned a huge deal about themselves, about working in a team, about prioritizing, about staying organized, about dealing with personalities; and they have picked up acting, singing, dancing, playing and technical skills.

Final note belongs to the teachers and parents who generously offered their time and expertise – you are the role models! A very special thank you goes to Mr Chris Brandt, Ms Mandi Manson and Mrs Claire Rimmer who lead the entire production since the very first conversations in May 2018. Their vision, energy and skill made it all happen!

I am immensely proud of and confident in our Secondary Years – the talent, the dedication, the professionalism, the skills – we have it all!


Jan Stipek
Secondary Years Principal


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