A large group of Morgan children have eagerly been going to school every day for the last two weeks. While spending two hours or more a day with teachers in classes at the high school may not sound like what every summer breaker wants to be doing in July, these children have gladly done it; some as young as 4 years old.
The Morgan Musical Theater has been hosting a drama/choir camp for performers of all ages.
Michael Mills, MHS choir teacher, and Candice Wilder, MHS drama teacher, collaborate in their first show together. Both teachers started teaching at Morgan High School and Morgan Middle School in 2011.
Wilder loves Disney and knew it would be perfect for young performers. Instead of purchasing expensive scripts, the resourceful and imaginative instructor set out to write a script. Wilder is not new to script writing, she has written at least three plays for her middle school students to perform. She has found this to be a great way to give her students a wonderful show to preform without draining resources.
Mills set out to choose songs to fit the script. He typically chooses songs his audience will be familiar with while fitting in a few new songs. “It’s always fun to introduce new music,” Mills explained. This show includes two songs from Broadway versions of Disney classics. One of the girls’ favorite songs from the entire show is a new song about Ariel the Little Mermaid, “She’s In Love.”
The group started out learning fun warm-up exercises and quickly learned a song from Disney’s High School Musical. With only two weeks to find out who would be participating and pull a show together, the group worked quickly to learn songs, dances and lines.
Every child who wanted a line was given one, along with group songs and dances. Individuals tried out to earn their singing solos. From young to old, the little vocalists stood by themselves singing in front of a roomful, each showing talent and courage.
The parts were chosen not just on talent, but also based on who would fit the character best. As is typical with other shows he has cast, Mills found many who could fit any individual part. Sometimes it can be frustrating to not be chosen for a part, but Mills encourages students to keep trying because their time will come.
The instructors were surprised at the turnout of the camp; they were expecting around 30 to 40 participants. Just under 80 performers joined the cast to sing, dance and act. While this significant increase made changes and adjustments necessary, Wilder says it’s worth it. The big cast makes group numbers like “Be Our Guest” from Beauty and the Beast dramatic and exciting.
The teachers encourage everyone to support the performing arts. This is a fun chance for young children to be exposed to theater. As individuals and families continue to support the arts, they will continue to be available for future students.
Mills encourages anyone with a desire to perform to keep getting involved in everything they can. “Look for every opportunity to perform,” Mills tells those who have enjoyed the drama and choir camp. He especially encourages the older students to join in seventh grade because they have many opportunities to take classes, learn and perform.
There are also plans to add more music opportunities in both elementary schools in the coming school year.
The dedicated cast will have several performances beginning tonight, July 19, at 7 p.m. They will perform again on Saturday July 20 at 2:30 p.m. Each of these performances will be held on the stage at the high school. Tickets are priced to allow families to bring their children to experience live theater: $5 for adults, $1 for students, 5 and under free.
An encore performance will be held at the Morgan County Fair on August 3 at 3:30 p.m.
Be their guest at this musical theater and you’ll understand why they call it the Wonderful World of Disney.