Eagle Rock’s Student Singers Present Songs for a New World

Early next month, nearly a dozen Eagle Rock School students will perform in a non-traditional musical at the Walter G. Reusch Auditorium, located within the YMCA of the Rockies in Estates Park, Colo.

This abstract musical, titled Songs for a New World, depends entirely on the storytelling abilities of its cast members, each of whom creates a character and the story line underlying that character. Each song performed during this — Eagle Rock School’s latest Spring Musical — introduces, describes and completes the student’s entire story, giving performers one chance only to communicate their feelings and draw the audience into believing in that particular character.

Songs for a New World

And that, as any director will tell you, is an imposing task. The musical, developed by Jason Robert Brown, will be performed at 7:30 p.m. Mountain Time on Thursday, April 6; Friday, April 7; and, again on Saturday, April 8.

If there is a theme running through these songs, it revolves around Continue reading…

Summer Institute Helps Educators and Students Grow Equity Together

Editor’s Note: Courtney Coleman of Harlem, N.Y., arrived at Eagle Rock in May of 2015 as a member of ER66 (the 66th trimester since our founding in the early-1990s). This blog post describes Courtney’s exposure to, and experience with, Eagle Rock’s Growing Equity Together Project, where our young author discovered the difference between Equity and Equality and helped to coordinate and facilitate Eagle Rock’s Summer Institute for educators seeking to improve equity at their schools.

By Courtney Coleman

The first seeds of the Growing Equity Together Project were planted in 1994, when Sarah Bertucci, Eagle Rock’s professional development associate, was an intern during Eagle Rock’s first summer in existence.

Eagle Rock is known for its positive influence on people. Sarah was one of the early staff members who were changed forever by getting to know Eagle Rock students and seeing them thrive in our innovative learning environment.

Her summer internship was Sarah’s first experience working in a non-traditional high school. As she adjusted her lessons and provided individualized support to meet students’ needs, she experienced what equity entailed, even though she didn’t yet call it by that name. This was also her first exposure to deeper learning — an approach to learning that focuses on knowing a smaller set of topics in depth while developing lifelong learning skills, rather than covering vast amounts of information at a surface level. Sarah says Eagle Rock internship is what inspired her to become a teacher.

Educator and student participants — Eagle Rock's 2016 Summer Institute.

Educator and student participants — Eagle Rock’s 2016 Summer Institute.

The Growing Equity Together Project was inspired by Sarah’s Deeper Learning and Equity fellowship. Part of the fellowship included a capstone project, so Sarah designed a project with three parts: Continue reading…

‘Staff Bingo’ Highlights the Life After Eagle Rock Fair

From the Claremont Colleges on the West Coast to Colby College in the East, from South Texas all the way north to Anchorage, Alaska, and even overseas in Uganda and the Philippines, Eagle Rock students recently learned where select Eagle Rock staff members headed off after their own high school experience.

It was a “share and tell” on a grand scale, with staff describing their own experiences immediately following high school and college. This first-ever Life After Eagle Rock Fair featured staff memories, along with photos, anecdotes and adventures, all to enliven presentations from colleges and universities about their offerings for new high school graduates / incoming students.

Life After Eagle Rock Fair 2016

Participating Eagle Rock staff members provided “fun facts” about their experiences, and at the end of the presentations, students played “Staff Bingo,” tasked with identifying what fun fact belonged to which staff member. Prizes ranged from a kitchen patrol shift cover from an Eagle Rock instructional specialist, to a trip to Safeway with two friends, and first choice to an off-campus movie or play.

Among the fascinating facts uncovered during the “Staff Bingo” portion of the evening: Continue reading…

Follow the Yellow Brick Road to Eagle Rock’s Take on ‘The Wiz’

Eagle Rock School students and faculty members are busy rehearsing for a series of performances of the Tony Award-winning 1975 musical, “The Wiz,” which are scheduled in Estes Park at month’s end.

The Wiz Eagle Rock SchoolOur production of “The Wiz” (March 31-April 2, 2016) is an urban retelling of L. Frank Baum’s 1900 tale, “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,” using Motown, Funk and Soul music to rework the story into the context of modern African-American culture. A film adaption of the show was released in 1978, starring Diana Ross and Michael Jackson.

Eleven talented Eagle Rock students and four staff members will perform in our staged version, backed by a live four-piece professional pit band. Meghan Tokunaga-Scanlon, Eagle Rock School’s Music Instructional Specialist, directs the show, with co-direction by World Languages Instructional Specialist Brighid Scanlon and musical direction by 2015/2016 Public Allies Teaching Fellow Michael Grant.

Performances will be staged beginning at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 31 as well as Friday and Saturday, April 1 and 2 at the Hempel Auditorium within the YMCA of the Rockies in Estes Park. Admission at the door is “pay what you like” and all proceeds benefit the Eagle Rock Graduate Higher Education Fund.

But we digress. The story of Dorothy and her road trip to Oz has become known worldwide for its themes of home, belonging, belief in oneself and freedom. “The Wiz,” with its original premiere in 1975 with an all-black cast and African-American styles, boldly showed that this classic story belongs to everyone, with audiences of all races flocking to watch productions of “The Wiz” over the past four decades. In addition to be culturally empowering, it is a “joy machine,” gorgeously designed, with quick humor and irresistible melodies.

Preparations for our production began last fall with a Continue reading…

Eagle Rock Theatre Students Dare to Present ‘Spring Awakening’

Spring-AwakeningFar be it for Eagle Rock School’s Music and Performance Department to turn and walk away from the edgier side of musical theater. In fact, if you take a look at past performances, the department has produced and presented such controversial programs as Urinetown and Rent.

So it’s no surprise at all that Meghan Tokunaga-Scanlon — our Music & Performance Instructional Specialist — has chosen to push the boundaries even further this year, offering up a presentation of Spring Awakening.

The production will be staged at the Rialto Theatre in Loveland (Colo.) beginning at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, April 1, with two more showings in the days that follow — Thursday, April 2 at 7 p.m., and Friday, April 3, also at 7 p.m. The cost of admission is at the discretion of the audience member, but keep in mind that proceeds benefit the Eagle Rock Graduate Fund — a cause that’s near and dear to all Eagle Rock students. The theater is located at 228 East 4th Street in Loveland.

And while this performance is definitely not suitable for children, there won’t be any body exposure and the overt sexuality is somewhat toned down. However, the show still contains plenty of adult content.

Here at Eagle Rock, we’re fortunate to have such a supportive administration. Spring Awakening tackles some really weighty issues that are very relatable to a lot of our students.

springawakening4

With book and lyrics by Steven Sater and music by Duncan Sheik, Spring Awakening is by turns irreverent, poignant, boisterous and thoughtful. The authors made the unlikely decision to Continue reading…