For the past couple of trimesters our performance class has been working on the musical, Songs for A New World, which centers on how the choices you make in your life affect your future.
This contemporary song cycle production by Jason Robert Brown is being staged this weekend at the Walter G Ruesch Auditorium at the YMCA of the Rockies (please see the end of today’s post for remaining dates and times).
Participating Eagle Rock students auditioned for parts in this musical last trimester and have been rehearsing for more than 10 weeks, with performers practicing on stage both morning and night for the first five weeks. Students worked daily on basic acting and singing techniques.
And regardless of each student’s skill level or experience, all cast members received the same level of instruction, honing the craft for those who have done this before and challenging those who are new to musical theater.
What I found amazing was the level of commitment offered by Eagle Rock’s students. Many had their doubts, but who doesn’t? When it dawned on all of them the enormous amount of hard work that is required to get a show off the ground, they all pitched in and gave it their all.
Occasionally we were able to break away from rehearsals and attend professional productions and shows during our time together. We were also able to take backstage tours of college productions and professional offerings such as those staged at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts.
Eagle Rockers told me how amazed they were by the work that goes on behind the scenes in a professional production. They witnessed the tech crews of these productions actively supporting the cast and directors, all of them working together with a singleness of purpose — creating the best production possible.
The takeaway? Our tech crew and cast members came to the realization that working together as a team offered the best opportunity for producing a successful musical.
In addition to students in both the performance class and the theater tech class, Songs for a New Year also received an assist from our ‘Connections in Wood’ class, which built the sets for our production. Instead of rehearsing songs or hanging spotlights, this crew attacked the stage with plywood, power tools and new woodworking skills to create the scenes onstage.
All of this work culminated in this weekend’s production, bringing musicians, lighting/sound crew and set builders together to put on a show. I am most proud of the amount of support and work these students have given to this production. In fact, it’s exactly this kind of reward that explains why I believe in the work we do here at Eagle Rock. Come see the show’s final two performances — tonight (April 7) and/or Saturday, April 8, at 7:30pm at the Walter G Ruesch Auditorium at the YMCA of the Rockies in Estes Park, and witness what teamwork looks like.
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About the Author: Josue Quintana is the 2016/2017 Public Allies Teaching Fellow In Music at the Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center in Estes Park, Colo. A graduate of the VanderCook College of Music in Chicago, Quintana has been active in Drum Corps International and Winter Guard International.