Wednesday, May 7, 2014

COT for Teens at Gallery 37

Chris Richard, COT for Teens Teaching Artist
What an amazing semester we had!  Our teens just ate up everything that we threw at them...and we threw a lot!
This term we focused on a scenes type program - not a full show.  A program such as this is quite common and we explained to them the numbers we chose were from a WIDE range of styles. We were fortunate to have so many good students that we wanted to give as many of them as possible a chance to shine, so we had LOTS of SOLOS!!!  Our program of numbers were easy to transport to various locations, which was great because we performed our program at several locations.  This gave the students many chances to perform, learn to deal with nerves, learn to change performance spaces and the technicalities that go along with all of that.
Our program was as follows:
Ever After, Act 1 Finale from Into The Woods by Stephen Sondheim
Va, penseiro from Nabucco by Giuseppe Verdi
Cell Block Tango from Chicago by Kander & Ebb
A Weekend In The Country, Act 1 Finale from A Little Night Music by Stephen Sondheim
Who Will Love Me As I Am? from Side Show by Russell & Krieger
We performed all of these selections at The Museum of Contemporary Art along with the other Gallery37 performing groups from ASM.  We also made a jaunt up into Lincoln Park and sang our numbers for the Sunrise Senior Living Center.  The audience there was very appreciative of our sound and bright energy filling the space!
We had visits from a number of members of the COT staff, which is always a welcome and informative diversion from Ms. Ott & I cracking the whip.
After we took our students to the Dress Rehearsal of Queenie Pie, a few of the leads came to visit our classroom. The teens were enthralled with them and had MANY questions for the panel.  The Queenie Pie cast were gracious enough to let our students perform for them too! 
Another wonderful highlight was a visit from some staff and students from Northwestern University.  These students were Music Theater majors and all of them sang a number individually for us.  It was especially inspiring since these NU students are the ‘next level’ of where our students want to be.  We almost couldn’t get them to STOP talking to each other!  It was really great to hear how the NU students transitioned from high school into one of the top universities in the country….and it’s in our own back yard!!!!

Our last performance of the term was for Chicago Opera Theater’s Spring Gala on April 24.  We paired with the Solorio students to perform ‘Va, pensiro’.  I think our students might even call this the biggest highlight of our term.  Our teens performed just as beautifully as the professionals earlier in the evening.  I heard through the grapevine that COT Board President, Henry Fogel was so moved by our teens performance the he snatched the microphone from the emcee to say a few unplanned kind words about our teens…THANK YOU to Mr. Fogel!!!
It seems I say this every term, but it’s true – I am honored to be a part of this program and am in awe of the teens. I am extremely proud of each and every one of them. THEY inspire ME!

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