Message from the Executive Director
I have been under pressure lately to put together a music video for announcing when school is canceled. I am sure many of you have seen the videos that have gone viral, such as the principal of Moses Brown doing a version of Frozen to make his announcement (Moses Brown: School is Closed). Now, I am not exactly a gifted dancer or a Broadway singer, so my announcement would need to have a different twist. The wheels in my head are turning, so do not be surprised if you see something soon. It is no secret in the LABBB community that I am an avid Rolling Stones fan and can play a little guitar, so that just might be the inspiration behind this production.
When I attended elementary school, it was mandatory to participate in chorus. We had a dynamic and passionate music teacher, Ms. Tyrie, on whom I had a crush in 2nd grade. In 6th grade, it was also mandatory to play a part in the school play. No one was exempt and many students voluntarily enlisted to be a tree out of fear of having any speaking lines. I’m quite sure that if given the choice to be part of the chorus, many students would not have participated, but as part of the school culture, it was just an expectation. As for me, I looked forward to seeing Ms. Tyrie-I mean going to chorus!
Everyone sings and performs, whether in the car or the shower or anywhere else. Singing is a natural expression and we feel good when we do it. It doesn’t matter if we are in tune or not, and sometimes we don’t even realize we are singing aloud. Introverts and extroverts alike all have the same need for this expression.
On Wednesday evening, February 4, I attended the LABBB performance of Spectacularis at Burlington High School; this was a production performed by LABBB students in collaboration with the Brio Integrated Theatre group.
I didn’t know what to expect, but I had heard that LABBB students were working extremely hard on this production. On the evening of the performance, the Burlington High School auditorium was almost full. The show started off with a video presentation that immediately grabbed the audience’s attention. It was a documentary of the behind-the-scenes action, and provided background for what we were about to see. For the next 45 minutes, we enjoyed short skits by the students, each with a unique theme. Kermit the Frog narrated the production and that performance, in itself, was amazing.
When the show ended, I wanted more. It went by so fast that it left the audience with an energizing feeling. I thought, “We need to do more of this!” This form of expression is such a benefit to our students. Parents and staff were so proud of the performance, and it was obvious that they all felt a sense of accomplishment from this experience.
With all of the educational mandates that take priority, music and the arts have taken a back seat in our educational system. How do you measure the benefits of a performance in which each student is part of a production team that puts in months of hard work, with only one evening to show the results? Evidence of how our students can perform, and what they are capable of, was demonstrated with Spectacularis. Can you think of a better methodology to build self-confidence and character, and is a form of artistic expression?
If it wasn’t for Ms. Tyrie, I would have never learned how to play the guitar. She encouraged me to be part of the school band in 3rd grade and I would’ve done anything Ms. Tyrie asked me to do, so of course, I took up the trumpet and joined. I didn’t particularly like the trumpet, but I stuck it out for a few years and learned about music. I became part of a group that worked together to perform.
If not given the opportunity in school to engage in music, I would never have been inspired. We look forward to giving our students in the LABBB community this same opportunity, and to collaborating with organizations like Brio to inspire them.
Spectacularis was an inspiration for future development of music and the arts in the LABBB Community.