Bianco, a longtime musical theatre teacher and vocal coach, helped the students select songs and provided piano tracks for them to practice their singing at home. For ensemble pieces and duets, she worked with the students to layer the tracks and sync all the voices together. Following a long and rewarding tenure in the classroom, Bianco retired at the end of the fall semester.
Stengel specializes in creative writing and theatre tech, including makeup, costumes, set design, and lighting. She worked with a team of student writers to develop the arc of the show and short scenes to weave the songs together. The production included 4th-12th grade students, so the writers explored phases of development. “We put the songs in a sequence of growing up. We started with shows like Matilda and we ended with shows like Mean Girls. There was developmental maturity in the choices. Then we wrote the show around what those characters were going through, what obstacles those characters were facing.”
Champion, a recent graduate from Trinity University and Charles Butt Scholarship for Aspiring Teachers Alumnus, was just starting his first year of teaching. During the 2019-20 school year he interned at ALA as part of his field-based training for a Master of Arts in Teaching. The relationships and experience he developed during the internship made entering the classroom during a pandemic a less daunting challenge.
Champion directed and blocked the scenes with different groups of students over Zoom. He taught himself video and audio editing so that he could take the students’ recordings and cut the scenes together to meet the cadence and action of each performance. Above all, he prioritized developing relationships, making virtual classes fun, safe spaces for students.
To ensure her theatre tech students were actively included in the production, Stengel organized porch drop-offs to deliver props, backdrops, and lights for students to help assemble or paint. Once a piece was finished, she’d pick it up from one student’s porch and take it to another student’s porch for it to be used in their recording.