I spent most of early 2017 (January – March) traveling back and forth on Highway 5, working at my Alma Mater, Skyline High School. I had been invited by the awesome music teacher and theater director, Tajma Beverly, to be Music Director for their Spring Musical, “Beehive: The 60s Musical“, and I accepted the task.
I met Ms. Beverly while was a guest lecturer at Skyline in October 2016, talking to the students about the music industry and my career. Even that day was highly nostalgic; I hadn’t returned to my high school since graduating, and being there in a teaching capacity was surreal! I offer workshops and lectures around the world, but this was different. This was MY high school, the same hallways where I dreamed of making a life in music; the same room where I learned to sing Madrigals, and first accompanied singers and choirs. A true, full circle moment…
I was so impressed with the students! I am grateful for their dedication, commitment, positive attitudes and hard work. Both Ms. Beverly and I wanted to offer the students a professional experience, so that they would gain an idea of what it takes to create a quality production. The students stepped up to the task: performers, lighting, audio, set design, costumers, hair & makeup, etc. I had lots of fun, was able to impart some wisdom, and know that we all did our best.
Unfortunately, I was also a bit heartbroken. The Skyline community did not come out to support these hardworking students. The audiences were incredibly small. I know that people have an abundance of entertainment options today (particularly compared to way back when I was a student), but in a school of nearly 2,000 students, it seemed that fewer than 30 showed up each night.
I was discussing the issue with my friend, singer Destani Wolf, and she articulated the same experience that I had as a student: “The Little Theater at Berkeley High was always packed and everyone so fired up, yelling for their friend! ” Every performance at Skyline when I was a student was well attended. People understood the value in supporting each other. It’s sad that the current Skyline students didn’t choose to support their peers in a tangible, visible way.
Whatever the reason for the lack of support (maybe because the arts have been so undervalued for so long in our culture, maybe because of the distraction of cell phones, who knows?), I hope that the fact that we did the performances ANYWAY will inspire more participation in the arts, and more support of the artistic community.
Please do your part, and go to a live performance of the arts, whether it be music, theater, dance, fine arts, etc. We all need art, and art needs all of us.
#BeehiveThe60sMusical #SupportTheArts #SkylineHighSchool #Music #TheMusicalLife