Thursday, March 07, 2013

Let's Put On A Show!

The rhythms of life change a little once your kids start high school.  Free time evaporates, and schoolwork is a constant presence.  The daily grind of school becomes an ever present drone that must be endured on a daily basis.

Kelly attends one of the best public high schools in the state, and has done extremely well in the three semesters she has completed so far.  The school prides itself on the sheer number of Advanced Placement classes offered (whether that is a legitimate cause for self-congratulation is debatable), and Kelly is well into her share of advanced courses.  The work is difficult and constant, but her effort and commitment are high and she brings home terrific grades.

There was a time when sports dominated Kelly's calendar much as Michael's.  Kelly loved volleyball and soccer, played them both intelligently and well, and enjoy both sports up through eighth grade.  Upon entering high school, the sporting scene shifted to either the high school teams or expensive and all-consuming club teams.  Without recreation-level teams available, Kelly has had to put aside her athletic career.  We expect that she will find plenty of opportunities to play intramural sports when she gets to college, but organized sports teams are just not in the rotation anymore.

Nevertheless, high school, even for most focused students, should not be entirely about class work.  With sports exiting the picture, Kelly has turned her extracurricular energies toward choirs and musicals.  The school has a well-organized choir program that integrates singers of all abilities in the first year, and distributes them throughout the program over the following three years depending on their experience and abilities.  The choir program also supplies the cast for the spring musical each year.  Kelly had a blast as a member of the ensemble in last year's production of "Guys and Dolls."  This year, she is in the ensemble for "Legally Blonde," a successful Broadway musical based upon the Reese Witherspoon film.

As with almost every extracurricular activity, parents are called upon to contribute their time and skills to support the musical.  Last year, Cheryl worked a concession stand during the performances.  This year, I volunteered (or rather, she volunteered me) to be one of the manly man who builds the sets.  Every weekend since January, shoehorned around baseball tryouts, practices and games, I have put in many hours helping construct sets for the musical.  My primary task was to assist the primary set designer/constructor with the most prominent background, a two-story apartment and curving staircase complex.

I have now spent more time in the cafeteria of Kelly's high school, where the building materials were located and where we did all of the initial construction, than I ever did in my own high school's cafeteria.   

The raw materials
 I had a great time working with a number of the other dads, learning about set construction (which is a bit more elaborate now than it used to be), and, of course, using power tools.  It will be nice to see a little bit of me up on stage.

The nearly finished product
Kelly spends more time at school than she does at home in these days of final rehearsals.  She is starting to see the whole show come together and is very excited for the performances to begin.  I am certain the students will put on a terrific show as always.