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Performing Arts Spectacular

East Central High School, TX
7173 FM1628, San Antonio, TX, USA

  • Director: Warren G. Mize
  • School District: East Central Independent School District
  • Category: Community Event
  • Award: Honorable Mention

Project Description

Annually, our performing arts department collaborates on two community performance events. Our Holiday Spectacular and our Spring Spectacular performances include our band, choir, theater, and dance departments working for a “spectacular” community presentation. We recognized the power of collaboration and now involve our community and other schools within our district. These are highlight performances that our community loves. At each Performing Arts Spectacular event, our students and faculty choose a group to recognize and honor. Most recently, we recognized our district police department. Other events have recognized families who have been touched by life-altering events and military personnel and families. During one show, we managed a video link from a military son stationed on a ship near Japan. In that instance, the vocalists sang “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” which was the Home for the Holidays theme. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house.

Because of the success of the programs, our district and constituents approved the construction of a new one-of-a-kind, state-of-the-art, performing arts center to support the growth of our performing arts programs. We will be moving into the new facility in October 2018. The programs also involve a 100 voice district children’s honor choir from feeder schools for the holiday season show, and our spring spectacular now includes middle school honors performers.

The programs begin with a theme idea. Students then create and direct much of the dance and music for the shows. For instance, our theater students write, direct, and perform thematic comedy that weaves the shows together. The dance is student choreographed and rehearsed. The vocal and instrumental groups often write and present unique pieces that work towards the show theme. It is our gift to our community.

How does the community participate? In addition to the recognized groups previously mentioned, another example is a spring spectacular event with a country music theme. EC at the Opry included families from our community who were country music performers. These groups joined with our students for an outstanding presentation to an overflow house. There are heartwarming stories from the community families that are a product of these events. The community anticipates and looks forward to the programs.

Many of the community members are graduates of our schools in the district. As a result, in the next year, we are implementing the East Central Performing Arts Alumni Association. In partnership with the East Central Foundation, this program will function to provide support and scholarships for our students. Our community alumni who participate will be given alumni seating at our Spectacular events, provided with a decal signifying their membership in the EC Performing Arts Alumni Association, and spearhead fundraising events to support student advancement and achievement in the arts. It is a community partnership in action.

Target Audience

The target audience for the project of the Spectaculars is our community. The programs are designed to reflect what our neighbors and community members enjoy. Each show delivers something for everyone that is touched by our high school and district. With a large number of alumni in the district who still live in the community, the connections are strong. Business leaders, political leaders, and other community leaders work to advance our student achievement.

Overview of planning and execution process for this project

Planning for the events is ongoing and seasonal. Between contests, competitions, and concert performances, our performing arts leaders conduct creative meetings where ideas are entertained, fostered, and developed. The events happen during December for the Holiday Spectacular and May for the Spring Spectacular. With the opening of the Patterson Center for the Performing Arts, the creative possibilities are limitless.

Sponsors/charities/volunteers/ other groups involved in the project and the benefits to each.

As mentioned before, our students seek out groups to recognize and honor during our Spectaculars. We have recognized our police and fire personnel with our community, bringing on stage the local police chief and fire chief from our community and district. Special VIP seating was given to these servants of our community. We have recognized military personnel and families. During one Holiday Spectacular, we surprised a military family with a video of their son from a ship near Japan. This young man was in the Navy. The mom and dad had no idea this was happening. Other times we have recognized community musicians in Spectacular Shows that represent our community demographics.

Community Impact

The proof is in the overwhelming attendance of these programs. Our community responded by approving the construction of an award-winning performing arts community center to serve the area. The Patterson Center for the Performing Arts is opening in October 2018. This is a direct response to our community’s recognition of the arts and the impact arts education makes on a student’s life. When you see people lined down the street waiting for the doors to open for a Spectacular Show, you know you are impacting the community.

Overall budget

$2000

Specific Budget Breakdown

Purchase of materials, props, costumes, and music for the Spectacular Shows. The expenditures vary for each show. Performing arts students (particularly choir and theater) conduct fundraisers to supplement production costs for costuming.

Typical expense per show:

  • Music/License $700
  • Props $300
  • Advertising/Marketing $200
  • Costumes $300
  • Lighting/Effects $200
  • Security $100
  • Honoree Gifts (plaques, flowers) $100
  • Misc $100

New or recurring project?

Recurring

How did you update/change this project from its previous occurrence?

Increased opportunities in our new performing arts center will reflect advances in production quality and community involvement. When we first started, our show impact was minimal and relegated to family/friends of participating students. Each show and production results in increased outcomes.

Measurement of the success/effectiveness of this project?

The primary quantitative measurement is in audience attendance. However; the qualitative measurements are seen in student achievement reflected in other performing arts events/programs/competitions.

With the new performing arts center, we are expecting record numbers beyond the recent 1,000 – 1,200 attendees. Projections are to double the attendance with unique programming capabilities in the new center including lighting, special effects, etc.

Advice for someone looking to replicate this project in their own community?

I would encourage stepping out of the box and be as creative as possible within the context of the school. Look at what other shows are like (major theater such as Broadway, Radio City, Hollywood, and top performers) and develop programs that are highly innovative and imaginative. I suggest collaboration with performing arts teams and to give the students the license to be involved in the creative process. Additionally, look at your community. Understand your community and culture. Create programs that reflect the community and the values of the community. Look for groups and organizations that serve and model helping the community (i.e. military, police, fire, first-responders). Finally, as we are developing the performing arts alumni association, we see connecting former students and families will give us additional ways to touch our community. The alumni program will also provide much-needed funding for future music/dance/theater post-secondary support.

Supporting Materials

Event Videos

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