|HOW THE REHEARSAL/SHOW
Depending upon the show, I will come
to your school for rehearsals once per
week, usually beginning about 12 weeks
before the show. I work with ALL
students in the show at once – usually in
a gym or large room – kids sit on the
floor, I conduct from a piano and use
overheads – hence, I need a good piano
and a good overhead projector. If
requested, I will provide tapes of the
songs as well for teachers to use in their
classrooms with the kids.
In the past, I have worked with as few as
2 classrooms, and as many as 6
classrooms. 3-4 is ideal, but I am very
flexible, and I adjust the show according
to our resources.
Every classroom teacher (and music
specialist, if available) will receive a
script. These are included in the
residency price. The script has the
- list of parts to be assigned
- entire acting parts
- music score
- words to all songs in the back (set up
for making into overheads.)
For the first 4-5 weeks, we work
exclusively on learning the songs.
Somewhere around week 4 (can vary,
especially by show), I will come to
school and audition children for any
singing solos or choruses. This usually
takes about 20 minutes per classroom.
Around week 4 or 5, we will also have a
meeting (usually after school) with
parents that may be interested in helping
us. We need a considerable amount of
help – especially with costumes, stage
managing, acting coaching, dance
choreography, publicity/programs and
scenery. These tend to be fun tasks, and
many parents really “get into it” in a
The usual pattern is that the classroom
teachers get together and divide the show,
by scene, and allocate different scenes to
different classrooms. The teachers then
pick the children in their classrooms that
will do these parts. Sometimes teachers
run off scenes from the scripts for the
kids to read in their class – i.e. they hold
their own “tryouts” – other times they
make their decisions based on the reading
group level of the child. The script then
needs to be copied (good job for parent
volunteers) for those kids with acting
parts (often schools just copy the scene
or scenes that particular child is in, rather
than the entire script).
As your director, I offer you firm
guidance to make the rehearsals work in a
smooth, productive and positive manner.
I throw in a lot of humor into the
rehearsals, and I’ve found that the
children (and teachers) really enjoy the
rehearsal process. I have a considerable
amount of experience in this – from over
35 years singing in choruses, being on the
staff of the Oregon Symphony, and also
doing numerous shows each year.
|Ralph C. Nelson
Artist in Residence
Composer Ralph Nelson is an Artist in Residence
and goes into schools and produces musical shows
which closely dovetail to the curriculum units used
throughout the Portland Metropolitan area. These
5th Grade: "Ring Out the Bells of Freedom" -- a
1 hour, 15 minute "American History pageant"
focusing the American ideal of Freedom. Includes
portions of The Declaration of Independence, The
Gettysburg Address, and Dr. King's "I Have a
Dream" speech. This show is written for a large
cast (80 speaking parts).
4th Grade: "My Oregon Report" (1 hour): The
teacher has asked each student to come up with a
project on Oregon history. This delightful
one-hour show covers Oregon history with scenes
that include: A Native American Potlatch,
Louisiana Purchase, Lewis and Clark (and of
course Sacagawea), Dr. John McLoughlin, the
Tillamook Burn, The Dams on the Columbia,
Celilo Falls, the Civil Rights movement during the
'60s, and Oregon's protection of our natural
resources. There are parts for 60 kids, and 4
major dances plus singing solos.
4th Grade: "Lewis and Clark, Journey of
Discovery" (1 hour); Take a journey with the
Corps of Discovery as we closely follow what
Lewis and Clark wrote in their journals. Great for
the 2004-2006 Lewis and Clark Bicentennial
3rd Grade: "Portland, A Musical" (1 hour). This
is Mr. Nelson's first and still most popular show
about the history of Portland. Includes 17 original
songs, and scenes depicting such events as the
"Coin Toss", Vanport, "Stumptown" and much
2nd Grade: "Habitats" (40 minutes). Our school
"plane" takes us to four different habitats --
Wetlands, Tundra, Desert and Forests. Lots of
dances and fun songs that teach about each habitat
and the importance of preserving habitats for
Kindergarten: "Harvest Festival Time" (30
minutes). It's time for a harvest festival -- songs
about fall, pumpkins, leaves, trees, apples, and
Shows are also available for rental -- contact Mr.
Nelson for more information.
|The Best Way to Organize Costumes for a Show! Dec. 2004
By Susan Nelson/Mary Laws (Kelly School) and Renee Breuer (Stephenson School)
1. SHOPPING BAGS: YOU NEED AS MANY SHOPPING BAGS AS YOU HAVE KIDS THAT WILL HAVE
COSTUMES. BEST BAGS ARE THE ONES WITH THE HANDLES (WILD OATS/NATURES). START COLLECTING
2. LAUNDRY BASKETS: YOU NEED AT LEAST 2 BASKETS PER CLASSROOM OF KIDS – THE FINISHED
BAGS WILL GO IN THE BASKETS. YOU MAY NEED 3 BASKETS PER CLASSROOM IF THE CLASS SIZE IS
3. BRIGHT 8 ½ X 11 PINK PAPER (OR OTHER BRIGHT COLOR) TO STAPLE ON BAGS WITH “CHANGES” --
YELLOW PAPER FOR ALL OTHER BAGS – AND MARKERS TO WRITE KIDS’ NAMES ON – PLUS A STAPLER.
4. COSTUMES (WE’LL GET TO THAT PART!)
5. SCHOOL DIRECTORY (TO CALL PARENTS WHEN NEEDED)
HOW TO COSTUME A SHOW:
a. Find out what part(s) each child has/ make a master list
b. Figure out what that part should wear – and communicate it with the parents
c. Ask that child’s parent(s) if they have any of these items (via letter home)
d. Find out if there are any costumes that can be borrowed for this part (Mr. Nelson has some costumes depending
upon the show – esp. for the 5th grade show). Create/sew costumes if needed (not all that often). e. Assemble the
costumes at the school – try them on the kids during rehearsals or at other times as approved by the teachers. THIS SHOULD
BE DONE AT LEAST ONE WEEK BEFORE THE SHOW – KIDS SHOULD BRING IN THEIR COSTUMES (IN BAGS).
Identify which kids are in “trouble” for costumes and call parents and/or help find costumes.
f. Keep track of all the items that each child has, and if borrowed, who it is borrowed from.
g. Put the finished costumes in a bag – with the following information on it:
1) child’s name and part(s)
2) all items in the bag
3) CLASSROOM TEACHER’S NAME IN PROMINENT VIEW
4) any items that need to be returned to someone else other than the child’s parent
5) IMPORTANT: if there is more than 1 part – put A PINK SHEET on the bag – this bag is going to have to be backstage
so that child/helper can find it during the show and get the child changed into the next costume!
h. put all the bags in laundry baskets by classroom. Separate out “yellow” from “pink bags. Arrange for where children
will get changed (one room boys, one girls)
i. help children get dressed for the dress rehearsal and the day of the show; help backstage with any costume changes.
After dress rehearsal and “daytime” show, fold costumes and check bags.
j. collect costumes BEFORE the kids leave after the evening show (and put back in the bag). Kids check out with
classroom teacher before leaving for home.
k. separate the items in the bags and returning the items to the proper owners.