8th Grade Musical

8th Grade Musical 2010-2011


Your performances were awesome, with each one being better than the previous.  It is truly a priveledge and blessing to watch you bring it all together and put on such a great performance.  I am so incredibly proud of each of you, and I could sense your feelings of pride, accomplishment, and yes - relief, as you took your final bows. 

Thank you for giving of yourselves - your time, talent, and energy - to put on a great show!  Best of luck to you in high school and beyond!
One of the major undertakings for 8th graders is the production of a musical in May. It is our school’s expectation that all 8th graders participate in this event. Please read the attached article and FAQ sheet for further explanation of this philosophy.
Our choice of shows will be announced on January 3, 2011. Details will follow in January.

Please mark the following dates on your calendars now. Assume that you will need to be
at all rehearsals. Once we have casted the show, you might get a day off, depending on
your part assignment.

Monday, January 24 3:30 – 4:15 *Optional Audition Workshop
Monday, January 31 3:30 – 4:15 *Optional Audition Workshop
         *the purpose of these workshops is to help you prepare your audition. Attendance is
          highly recommended for band students, who won’t have the preparation in music class,
          and those who wish to audition for a lead.
Tuesday, February 8 5 minute slot 3:30 – 8:30 Auditions – mandatory for all 8th graders
Tuesday, February 15 Make up date in case of snow on Feb 8

The following rehearsals are from after school until 5:30 unless otherwise noted:
Monday, March 7
Monday, March 14
Thursday, March 17
Monday, March 21
Thursday, March 24
Monday, March 28  CANCELED!  (No School - Teacher Professional Development)                                           Thursday, March 31
Monday, April 4
Thursday, April 7
Monday, April 11
Thursday, April 14
Monday, April 18
Monday, May 2
Thursday, May 5
Sunday, May 8** stage set-up at 2 pm; full cast rehearsal 6:30 – 8:00pm
Monday, May 9
Tuesday, May 10
Wednesday, May 11

Thursday, May 12, 1:30pm; Friday, May 13 7:00pm; Saturday, May 14 7:00pm
          **we know that this is Mother’s Day and apologize – there literally was no other day we
            were allowed to set the stage up before “show week.”


8th Grade Musical Frequently Asked Questions
St. Brendan has a long tradition of having the Eighth Grade Class put on a musical. There have been a number of questions regarding this process.  Here are the answers to some. If you have further questions, feel free to email them to Mrs. Smith at katsmith@cdeducation.org

Do I have to participate? I’m too busy already!
Yes. St. Brendan School requires every eighth grade student to participatein the musical, with no exceptions. We understand and appreciate that everyone has very busy schedules. The directors make every effort to make effective use of the rehearsal times to keep them to a minimum. At the beginning, we only practice twice a week. There are more practices as performance dates approach. Note that students do have some “down time” when their character is not on the stage, so there is some time at rehearsals to
work on homework. Practices are always over promptly at 5:30.

Do I have to participate? I don’t like to sing.
Yes. There are a wide variety of ways to be involved with the musical. A small group of students are selected to be on the stage crew, designing sets and then taking care of scene changes during the shows. A few students are chosen to be lights and sound technicians. Some students will have solos and leads, while most of them are in the chorus and group scenes. No one is forced to sing alone at a performance.

Why isn’t participation optional?
If participation were optional, a great number of students would opt out, citing their busy schedules, lack of interest, and peer pressure. For many of our students, it is truly a once in a lifetime experience with such a production, and their last experience with music education. We firmly believe that this is a wonderful educational and social experience not to be missed by anyone.
Read the article from the Boston Globe (below) which supports this philosophy.

When are the rehearsals and performances?
Please see the full schedule above.                                                                                                                                                              

What if I have to miss a rehearsal?
Please make every effort to schedule appointments around the musical rehearsals. That is why the schedule was made available in August. We compromise with coaches to work around sports schedules, and students areexcused for games. Before rehearsals begin, a note will be sent home asking you to list any known conflicts. If further conflicts arise, you are required tobring in a note at least 24 hours in advance. Students who miss a rehearsal without giving notice will get a detention. The only exception to this is absence from school. The directors have the right to reassign any student to a chorus part if they have excessive absences.  These policies are in place to respect everyone's time.  If you were to miss the rehearsal for "your scene" it could render everyone's else's rehearsal useless.  

Why do we do a musical?
There are many performance-based standards in the music course of study. The production of a musical is a great project to culminate our elementary music course of study.

What will I get out of it?
This is truly a great experience. Even the students who are hesitant to participate will benefit greatly. Aside from the countless educational objectives, the musical is a great time for the eighth grade class to come together to work on a big project. It is a very social time, giving the students the chance to interact with each other and the directors in a different setting.  It is a time to see each other’s talents soar and learn new things about each person. The feeling of pride and accomplishment that emerges when the
final bows are applauded is truly amazing!                                                                                                                                                     

Can we do “Wizard Of Oz*?” *insert the title of your favorite show…
We chose musicals that have been revised to fit middle school voices. There are two companies, MTI and Getting2Know, who specialize in this. Not every show is available to us. We also will not repeat a show for at least ten years. The directors choose a show that they feel meets the talents and abilities of the class.



Art's power to teach 21st-century skills
By Lisa Guisbond
December 8, 2008 A RECENT report calling for Massachusetts schools to develop 21stcentury
skills is cause for both optimism and unease. The promise is that all children, no
matter their ZIP code, will benefit from more expansive educational goals, including
access to the arts. The concern is that the call to teach and assess more than a narrow set
of academic skills will translate into a longer list of high-stakes hoops for teachers and
students to jump through.
Education leaders considering how to implement the state's 21st Century Skills Task
Force's recommendations can look to an extraordinary local arts program for
inspiration. Every summer, Brookline's Creative Arts at Park offers a vivid
demonstration of art's power to teach, transform, and develop skills essential for
success. Watching my son and his campmates perform "A Midsummer Night's
Dream" last July, I thought there could be no better way to learn Shakespeare than to
perform it. But this diverse group of young people did much more than memorize
one act of a play in five weeks. They mastered a long list of skills, including
collaboration, creativity, critical thinking, problem solving, and communication.
According to the 21st Century Skills report, these are the competencies everyone will
need to succeed as citizens and workers. These are the skills employers and colleges
say are now severely lacking among high school graduates and entering students.
The task force report wisely acknowledges that different tools are needed to assess
such skills, including performance assessments like speeches, projects, and
exhibitions. Clearly, multiple-choice tests with short written essays are not up to the
task. But simply adding more kinds of exams to the current high-stakes system
would be a mistake. To promote and assess 21st-century skills, Massachusetts needs
to construct a balanced assessment system, as called for in the Education Reform
Some fear that moving beyond our current focus on high-stakes testing and toward
multiple measures will mean lowered standards. This argument falsely assumes tests
themselves are standards. The fact is that too many schools are now narrowly
focused on preparing kids for tests, not educating the whole child.
Nor is it true that students must first memorize some set of basics before they can
engage in thinking and interacting with the world. To the contrary, cognitive science
and the experiences of nations that score high on international assessments prove
that students learn better when they are challenged to think and do, not simply
memorize and repeat. Many students are engaged by arts instruction, and when
students are engaged, their overall motivation to learn improves.
Massachusetts needs a broader system with more emphasis on classroom-based and
performance assessments. We need to make graduation decisions not by a series of
separate hurdles but through an integrated approach that taps into our children's
diversity of strengths and talents. The cost of such a system is modest and the payoffs
large as better-educated students enter adulthood.
The Brookline arts program suggests how much could be gained by giving all
students access to the kinds of opportunities usually reserved for rich kids. Wouldn't
many children blossom given the chance to steep themselves in Shakespearean
culture and language, as they must to put on a coherent performance? Wouldn't they
benefit from collaborating and cooperating the way an ensemble cast must do? And
wouldn't every child be challenged and grow as a result of all the problem-solving
required to put on a play?
Of course, schools should not be turned into theater camps. Quality academic
instruction is essential. However, there's been little in my son's school experience to
compare with the multidimensional growth I saw as a result of the challenge of
playing Nick Bottom. Sadly, the more schools eliminate arts to spend more time
boosting test scores, the more access to these experiences is restricted to children
whose parents can afford to pay the added costs.
It's time to expand our notion of education and extend the chance for these
transformative experiences to all children. I'll be the first to shout "Bravo!" if that is a
result of the 21st-century skills report.
Lisa Guisbond is a policy analyst at FairTest and serves on the board of Citizens for
Public Schools.