What I have chosen as my CAS project is my involvement in the rehearsal process and the performance of the musical theatre charity concert ‘Applause For a Cause.’ The concert was organised by students and teachers within the school in partnership with the charity Worldwide Action. The purpose of the project was to put on a concert featuring some of the most well-known songs from musicals around the world. The goal of this was to raise enough money through tickets for the event to fund the building of a new classroom in a school in Nepal. As students we got the chance to choose our songs as well as run rehearsals and organise choreography and vocals. The rehearsals ran from the first week of January, eventually culminating in a final concert in the final week of February. We were able to raise enough money to reach our goal, and the concert was a huge success overall, with many coming to enjoy some of their favourite songs from musicals. The process of this project fits well with the CAS stages.
Investigation and Planning
In the stage before the start of rehearsals, myself and a few other students were involved in the initial investigation and planning of the concert. Before the actual concrete planning, Ms Alborn introduced the concept of a musical theatre showcase and tried to gauge interest within our theatre class. All five of us in class were very interested in the idea and in being involved in the planning. We looked at different groups of people that would be interested in getting involved and managed to begin to collate everyones different skills and interests together. For instance some of us were well versed with more recent and modern musicals whilst others knew classic musicals and in coming together we were able to start planning. When the entire cast came together, we began to decide upon songs (and thus roles and responsibilities) within the show and rehearsal process. We looked at the timeline of the show, and additionally organised rehearsals and times that certain logistical tasks would need to be complete by. We grouped up into different ensembles and different duets or groups as well as working together to figure out responsibilities within them. I was assigned to be involved with 4 different ensembles, and within this I would be helping with choreographing 2 of them.
The stage of action was incredibly collaborative. It was essentially the rehearsal stage of the show and this is when we implemented the plans that we had put in place. In my ensembles and my pair pieces we rehearsed at least once a week, putting together choreography and working on the songs themselves. Coming together with these teams, I believe we managed to use many different learning styles due to the diversity in all the ways we thought. Decision making and problem solving was needed constantly, especially in the older female ensemble I was a part of wherein it was necessary for us to take action by ourselves. I learnt a lot about collaborative work on a high level, especially in an environment where we had a limited amount of time and high goals. Most of the problems I encountered that were overcame had to do with working within these large groups as sometimes with things such as choreographing there would be many ideas thrown out in the room, and you would have to avoid working in a cyclical way and actually try to finish work. Finally at the end of this action stage we performed, and it was a test of confidence and risk-taking abilities as well as a challenge to the skills of all of us as individuals and as a team. Additionally we were able to achieve our goal through the action of raising enough money to fund the building of the classroom in Nepal!
Many questions and thoughts were generated throughout the entire process. In the action stages I felt some initial stress and nerves over the time limits we had and being under pressure to choreograph and rehearse. Ultimately I think that I’ve realised in some of these situations however, pressure can aid in the production of work, especially when it is important and there is limited time. I also kept thinking about the relationship between arts and service and how it seems to work very well with myself as a learner and my interests. Though the service may be indirect, throughout the entire process we were keeping the end goals in mind and always striving to put on a show that people would want to come and see (and ultimately to donate money to). I think arts and service aspects can go very well together because of the way arts manage to engage individuals and communities and how you can apply many different issues and charities to different celebrations and types of art, such as what we’re doing with our charity concert.
Demonstration and Celebration
Going onto stage the first time that night, under the lights and in costume, I was initially very nervous. I hadn’t been involved in a show or a project before where it was solely about singing and the performance through song. I had been in musicals before where singing was accompanied by acting and plot but it felt like a much more concentrated performance environment. In my duet I definitely felt stress and anxiety but I also felt an immense sense of pride. Because of the goals of this project, in raising money to fund the building of a classroom, it suddenly felt like this was much bigger than ourselves and how well we could sing. Once I took this into account, the pride really aided me in reaching a level of comfort wherein I really enjoyed the performance itself and being on stage, despite still having some jitters. All in all on this helped greatly with my skills and abilities on a personal level, not just performance-wise. Despite growing more comfortable as a performer I also learnt how to work better with people to a higher extent under pressure and finding ways to incorporate many people’s ideas together. We were able to share all that we accomplished and learnt through the final performance which was hugely successful.