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Posted on: 29/04/2019

School of Rock - A parents perspective

Well, here I go again. Another Sunday afternoon driving my daughter to school. The school run on a Sunday? Yes. For about 16 weeks between October and February, our lives become dominated by auditions, learning lines, rehearsals, learning dance steps, practicing songs, re-learning lines and dance steps, adjusting costumes, practicing songs some more and finally the shows. The shows. The anticipation. The nervous energy. The tension. The excitement. The thrill. The roller-coaster of emotions. However, ultimately, the pride and joy. And it’s pride and joy not just for my daughter but in the whole show.

Make no mistake, pupils need to be committed. Yes, the pupils give up their Sunday afternoons, but it is much more than this. Some pupils have used this opportunity to learn or really advance their skills. Some have learned instruments, some have even taken up ballet! Many have been introduced to the world of performing arts and found that they love these so much that they will even study them at college.

I should not have been surprised that my daughter wanted to be involved with the shows. She has been a dancer for 13 years. But the shows are not just dancing – there are songs, and scripts and acting. This was a new challenge. Good. Something to stretch her. To take her out of her comfort zone. Something to keep developing her. She has never been short on confidence, but even she was nervous that first time for rehearsals. This was a whole new ballgame. A whole new set of challenges. In her first year she had one song in one scene for one night. Well, I guess that was a gentle introduction! Over the next four years, she progressed to the ballet ensemble; then she earned her first main character role. In this her final year she not only had lines but was also acknowledged as an assistant choreographer!

So what about the teachers? Well, they give up their Sunday afternoons, too! And give up their after school time as well! They volunteer to spend yet more time with our budding stars. And there is always something strangely magical about seeing a teacher outside of their normal classroom setting - seeing them dressed up as rockers (2019), in a nun’s habit (2018) or a ballet tutu (2017) will take some beating. The teachers and pupils cast members, roadies, techies, they become equals. They even share pizza! And that is special (ask any pupil!)

Over the five years , I reflect on how many of the cast have not only grown up height-wise but, more importantly, in their confidence and abilities. Each and every show has been a success. Each and every thunderous round of applause has been earned and deserved. Seeing the smiles during the final-night staff and pupils encore is very special. It must be an element of relief, but it is also a little bit of shared pride and mark of the friendships that are forged during those Sunday afternoons.

Is it all worth it? Yes, it is.

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