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LIU’s Got Talent…and I Truly Hope That I Do, Too

July 23, 2011

Listening To: “Big Star” – Reel Big Fish, Why Do They Rock So Hard?
Tuesday morning I had a discussion with some of my coworkers about the idea of having a talent show during lunchtime, and once the idea was in my head there was no chance that I would let it go…I absolutely LOVE talent shows. I put together the rules for participation and a sign-up sheet and decided to have the show on Wednesday and Thursday during the students’ lunchtime – there is a small stage in the Cafetorium where the students could perform, and having the talent show during lunch meant that none of the classes missed any of their educational time.
A lot of the students at summer school are shy. Also, a lot of the students at summer school don’t have the opportunity to develop their talents further – I started taking dance lessons when I was three, I started taking piano lessons when I was five, I started taking drum lessons when I was nine, and I took acting classes in elementary school and worked on my acting and voice skills through my participation in every musical that was put on by my middle or high schools. I was (and am) very prepared for something like a talent show because of the instruction I had been receiving elsewhere. So far at school, I have only met one student [out of two hundred and fifty] who takes dance classes, and only one student who takes lessons for an instrument. These students do not have the same opportunities that I did to become confident in a talent. My boss pointed out once that these students are not often the ones that are picked for the spring musical, which is why it is important for us to provide them with a safe atmosphere to perform.
So because of all of that, there were very few students who signed up for the talent show, and I had to recruit teachers to perform at the show. However, in the end, we had about 20 acts prepared to perform at the show, probably half of which were teachers and the other half students.
This is important: if you ever, ever in your life put something like this together, do not make the same mistake I did. We planned on having the talent show on both Wednesday and Thursday because we knew we wouldn’t be able to fit all of the acts on one day. My mistake was telling the students that the talent show would be two days long – on Wednesday afternoon as I scrambled around trying to find who would be next in the show, every student except one told me that they would have to go Thursday (they forgot their music, the friend with whom they were performing didn’t show up, they hadn’t practiced…etc.). On Wednesday during lunch we had a full docket of performers, but only one of them was a student. Next time I do this, I will tell the performers that there is only one day so that they all show up prepared and the event can run more smoothly.
I was excited for Thursday because I knew that more students would be performing, although I was concerned that they would back out because they were too nervous. I had helped three different groups prepare a dance for the show (all very last minute, while I was trying to put two other events together, the stress-level was high…), so I was confident that at least those groups would perform, and I again recruited teachers to help in case of a disaster. (Oh, and the sound system was on the fritz so we were unsure if the music for the dances and the music for the singing performances would even work).
The show was incredible. I had one student play clarinet, a couple of different dance performances, three girls sing beautifully (and only one of them had ever sung in public before), and a group of boys in fourth grade who had brought their recorders but no music, so they were a “jazz improvisation” group, playing whatever notes and rhythm they wanted – it was adorable!
We ended the performance with a fourth grade girl from Saudi Arabia leading the summer school staff in the “Cupid Shuffle,” a dance she had never even heard of until about 10 minutes before the performance began. It was the perfect ending to a near-perfect event, and it was incredible to see so many students who were so nervous and so unsure be able to go on stage in front of all their peers and be confident in their abilities. My bosses asked me to repeat this event next year, and I can’t wait to do it with some more planning ahead and being able to help some students prepare a really spectacular event.
Now, on to why I hope that I have talent…out of an interesting turn events, I have been placed pseudo-in charge of the Parent’s Night performance that will take place on Wednesday. I was given this responsibility on last Wednesday afternoon, giving me last Thursday, and this upcoming Tuesday and Wednesday to execute everything that needs to go into the performance (we have a field trip on Monday and no school on Fridays!). I have had to help all of the teachers come up last minute with a performance that their students could do, create an outline for the order of the show so that the our media specialist can create the actual program, and create a schedule for next week’s rehearsals for the show. I am also now in charge of the rehearsals for the show, meaning that I will be working with every group at the school with no break (usually between dance classes I would have 15 minutes to prepare or regroup, but I had to schedule the rehearsals next week so tightly that there are no breaks in between groups), helping them all to prepare for the show. And there are high stakes – I have heard repeatedly that Parent’s Night is always a big success and that the Adams County Parent’s Night is one of the best performances of all of the MEP schools. My boss’ boss also informed me on Thursday night that some very important state officials would be attending the Adams County Parent’s Night…but no pressure! If I had known from the beginning of summer school that I would be given the responsibility of putting this night together, I would have started five weeks before the performance, not six days! I know that I will have the support of the office staff and of all the teachers in order to pull this off, so I have faith that it will be a success…but I hope that it is as spectacular as I know that it could be! These students deserve having a great night to shine.


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