It is normal to hear holiday music ringing through the Montverde Academy’s Lower School halls in August. This year, Christmas trees were competing for Santa’s attention in September and elves were dancing, skipping and playing with the concept of time in October. All this merriment is the result of five different grades preparing for two evenings of holiday performances which take place on the first two Thursdays in December with more than 100 students participating.
On the first evening, Mrs. Sinopoli’s Kindergarten class performed “The Littlest Christmas Tree” and Mr. Dinmore’s second grade class performed “Home for the Holidays.” Both plays spoke to the theme that celebrating the holidays begins on the inside. Parents often comment on the joy of seeing how much the students have grown and developed in a matter of two years as seen both in performance skills and the level of storytelling each grade level is able to achieve.
The same observations were heard the following Thursday evening with three more performances: Mrs. Tannehill’s third grade performing “One Day in December,” Mr. Hand’s class taking a “Holiday Road Trip,” and Mrs. Dougherty’s fifth-grade students presenting the elf story “Wish Upon a Star.” The third graders’ play told the story of a group of happy singers trying to cheer up the character of Mr. Glum despite his inclination of holding on to “the Glum Family tradition.” Such storylines open great conversations in rehearsals with the students about how our attitude can impact our outlook and how we interact with the world.
Mr. Hand’s fourth graders performed high energy holiday songs showcasing how different areas of the United States celebrate Christmas on their “Holiday Road Trip.” Singing and dancing with songs that incorporated Zydeco, street parties and a west coast feel for the season, our student actors demonstrated what hard work and focus can achieve in theatre arts.
In the play “Wish Upon a Star,” Mrs. Dougherty’s class told of the adventures of the elves Sally and Toby as they learn the elfin lessons on the importance of encouragement, never giving up and giving the gift of time. When Santa’s gift from the elves, a karaoke machine so Santa can finally learn the words, is sabotaged, elves Toby and Sally try to solve the problem. Through this more challenging plotline, the fifth-grade students worked on developing their characters and the storytelling aspects of theatre.
With LS performances complete, we are preparing for more shows in the Spring. Ms. Cyndi Cunningham, LS Theatre Arts and Computer Technology teacher, directs most performances, however Mrs. Gina Mobley, LS Music teacher, will direct both first grade classes’ performance in the Spring. The LS is very excited to provide the opportunity for all students in kindergarten through grade five to experience the thrill of performing in a theater with the safe support of friends and family. For some, it is a brave challenge and a chance to try something new. For others, it sparks a lifelong passion.