On December 17, the entire McBride school population (Kindergarten to Grade 7) lit up their stage for the school's first ever musical.
During the performance of the Nutcracker, all 330 students played an important role either singing, dancing or acting. The students and staff had been hard at work for over a month. The actors practiced with musical director and McBride teacher Kathy-Ann Nobbs-Thiessen twice a week after school for approximately 45 minutes in addition to a number of lunch time rehearsals. The dance numbers for the primary students were rehearsed during their regular music time and the intermediates practiced once per week before school, at recess, lunch, and after school.
The result was an incredibly "crowd-pleasing" performance.
"I felt that the students showed a professionalism beyond their elementary years. They danced, sang, and acted with such joy that I truly felt transported to a magical candy land," said Nobbs-Thiessen. "Throughout the evening, I repeatedly found myself wanting to sit back and watch them shine rather than conduct because of the grandeur of it all. I was extremely proud of every student on this magical night."
During the performance to the packed audience, the students performed a wide-range of intricate and technical dances highlighting favourite characters like sugar-plum fairies as well as an incredibly cute display of saucer-dancing by the elaborately clad Kindergarten troupe.
All the dancing was accompanied by the clear and powerful combined voice of the McBride choir.
To coordinate the massive number of students involved, Nobbs-Thiessen and her team of staff developed a runner system aimed at bringing different acts down to the gym at different times.
Nobbs-Thiessen says that by the end of the night, there was a strong connection among all the performers, singers and dancers.
"By the end of the evening, we feel a stronger bond between us because of a wonderful shared experience," she said. "For me, it is important to create a sense of community by including everyone in music making opportunities."
The decision to take on the Nutrcracker Musical was made because every song was sung by a chorus (allowing for maximum participation). The students were able to learn about Tchaikovsky throughout their practices and the musical offered a fun and memorable experience for all the students.
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