DOLLAR BAY - Months of hard work all paid off recently for dozens of Dollar Bay students when they took to the stage their adaptation of Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Cinderella."
The Dollar Bay Jr./Sr. High Band and Choir performed the musical last week in the high school auditorium.
"We have been singing, acting, dancing, painting, designing and manufacturing," said Paula McKaig, Dollar Bay band instructor.
Dollar Bay band instructor Paula McKaig directs students in a “Cinderella” dance routine during at practice recently at the high school auditorium. The musical was performed in the auditorium last week. (Houghton Daily Mining Gazette photo by Stephen Anderson)
The band typically participates in the Michigan School Band and Orchestra Association festival in the spring, but this year McKaig and the band decided to incorporate a broader artistic experience into the music program.
Students auditioned for the musical in January and more than 30 worked together on a variety of roles including acting/singing, stage crew and set design/painting/woodworking.
"I thought that it'd be fun and I've never done it before," said ninth-grade student Callisto Cortez, who will play Cinderella. "It's just something I wanted to do to be a part of something in the school. ... The anticipation is really building."
Students worked on the musical every school day from 2 to 3 p.m., often breaking up into smaller groups, with lead actors working on lines, and others choreographing complex dance routines to music.
The specific "Cinderella" rendition the students performed is part of the "Getting to Know" series put out by Hal Leonard and Rodgers and Hammerstein, geared toward middle school students and younger.
"We have some older students helping out, but most of the students are younger and are getting their first taste of theatre, which is totally new for Dollar Bay," McKaig said. "We are going out on a limb and it's pretty exciting."
While the experience was new to many of the students, McKaig herself was certainly not new to theatre.
As an alumni of Calumet High School - known as Paula Newman then - in the 1970s, under the tutelage of John Lehto, she was student director for "Fiddler on the Roof," and "The Music Man." She was also the vocal and orchestral leader for the first all-school musical "The Sound of Music" in 1995 and the vocal coach for "High School Musical" four years ago.
McKaig's students have designed the sets and scenery, learning about art and perspective in drawing. The backdrops are 4-by-8-foot sheets of corrugated cardboard, donated by Tom Ozanich, a band parent. By painting on both sides of the cardboard, each sheet can be used for two scenes.
McKaig's husband Denny came up with a design that some of the boys from the band are working with to hold the sheets.
"It's lots of math, measuring, cutting, sealing and painting to match each scene," Paula McKaig said.
The musical is also incorporating several technical components that involved students in other ways.