Getting Ready for the Winter Concert in Upper Elementary, or The Art of the Student-Run Play

Over the past few days we’ve looked into the Children’s Houses and the Lower Elementary as they’ve been preparing for the Winter Concert. The excitement is mounting as we are two days away from the big event! Today we’ll round out our winter-concert-sneak-peekery with the Upper Elementary.

Each year, in the weeks before Winter Concert, our Upper Elementary transforms into a performance arts academy of sorts as the students write, direct, produce, design and manage an original musical play based on a historical event or period. Guides Rebecca Callander and Katie Nelson, along with UE Assistant Justin Shepard and PE Specialist Diana Barrios, offer guidance throughout the process with editing, musical instruction, help with procuring materials and much more, but make no mistake—the Upper Elementary Play comes from the creativity, intelligence, practice and hard work of the UE students.

Over the course of the fall semester, ideas for the play begin to percolate among the UE students as they are inspired to delve deeper into historical topics they’re learning in the classroom and through their own independent research. The guides and assistants work with them to narrow down the choices—there are so many!—and come to a consensus.

Then the fun starts! Students sign up to be writers, directors, costumers, props masters, set designers, dancers and musicians, and auditions are held to cast the play. Most students take on multiple roles, and their days begin to fill with construction, crafting, sewing, painting, memorizing lines, learning dance steps, band practice and rehearsals.

photo credit: Katie Nelson

The best part of the UE play is that our students are given opportunities to showcase their individual talents and to explore new interests, while at the same time coming together in cooperation and collaboration. They work hard, push themselves toward a goal and have fun doing it.

This year’s UE play will time-hop through history in a most excellent way (that’s a hint!). We can’t wait to see it on Saturday!