In this week's blog, our Upper School Principal and Fine Arts Director, John Furrow, invites you to experience first-hand one of our most anticipated spring musicals yet!
The book which the reader now holds in his hands, from one end to the other…treats the advance from evil to good, from injustice to justice, from falsity to truth, from darkness to daylight, from blind appetite to conscience, from decay to life, from Limbo to God. Matter itself is the starting point, and the point of arrival is the soul. - Victor Hugo, from the introduction of Les Misérables
Les Miserables: The Musical premiered on Broadway at the famed Shubert Theater on March 12, 1987 to rave reviews and packed houses. Based on the classic book by Victor Hugo, with music by Claude-Michel Schönberg and lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer, the show became an instant classic, winning nine Tony awards including Best Musical.
Set between 1815 and 1835 in Paris, Les Miserables tells a powerful story of redemption and forgiveness in the midst of some horrible circumstances. The show deals with the social conditions and poverty of the common man that led up to the French Revolution in a gripping and powerful way. The story focuses on one man who experienced kindness and undeserved grace, and in return treats other undeserving people in kind. This pattern of forgiveness and grace empowers a group of common and oppressed people to begin a movement that would impact the very future of their nation.
The characters presented in this show are all flawed and sinful people. They serve as a reminder, “that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost” (1 Timothy 1:15). But for the grace of God in our everyday life, any of us could find ourselves in this story. The people represented are real, honest, and at times raw. Yet this draws attention to the greatest truth in all of history, “For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace” (Romans 6:14). Because of God’s grace, demonstrated to sinful man through the loving and forgiving actions of His Son, the once hopeless sinner can have redemption that restores purpose in our lives.
"But for the grace of God in our everyday life, any of us could find ourselves in this story."
It is the prayer of the entire cast, crew, and production team that you are entertained and moved by this powerful story and stirring music. More importantly, it is our eternal hope that you will contemplate the goodness of God and treasure those areas of your life where you have experienced the unconditional love, forgiveness and grace of the Almighty Eternal God. There are still general admission tickets available. Get yours by clicking the image below!
Many folks are surprised to learn how varied our opportunities at WCCS are in the fine arts and athletics!
We created these two promotional videos to highlight some of the activities that are available for WCCS students in these two areas, as we desire to point students to Christ in all we do. Check them out!
Additionally, if you would like to learn how your business can further support the arts and athletics at WCCS, check out the WCCS Corporate Sponsorship Program or contact Jane Wilson at firstname.lastname@example.org. Corporate sponsorship dollars directly support athletics and fine arts. Your financial contribution allows our students to have the resources they need to thrive!
Thank you to all the faculty, staff, students and families who participated in the creation of both videos. Do us a favor, share our videos on your social media pages and comment below something that YOU love about WCCS!
With the fall season quickly approaching, I wanted to take a minute to talk about the benefits of getting your student involved in the wide range of not just athletic opportunities, but fine arts and service opportunities at WCCS. These after school activities can enrich your child’s school experience, help them perform better in class, and even enhance their relationship with Christ.
I recently came across an article from the National Federation of State High School Association (www.nfhs.org) that sparked my interest and wanted to share five great points that I believe speak to the benefits of student engagement outside of the classroom.
BETTER ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE
Some students might be hesitant to join a sports team or after school activity because they don’t want it to interfere with their grades. However, studies actually show that students who compete in high school activity programs such as sports, theater, and band have better educational outcomes, including higher grades, higher achievement test scores, and higher educational expectations beyond high school.
A study of this group of students showed that they “earned higher grades, graduated at a higher rate, dropped out of school less frequently, and scored higher on state assessments than did non-athletes.”
Participation in high school activities is a valuable part of the overall high school experience, enhancing students’ school engagement and sense of belonging.
A study looking at social adjustment in making the transition from middle school (8th grade) to high school (9th grade) found involvement in sports helped students with friendships during the transition. Continuous involvement in sports and other after school activities was associated with having more friendships.
More importantly, as they compete, perform, and serve together, students and athletes get to represent not only our school, but Christ to the surrounding community—impacting the world around them.
DEVELOPMENT OF POSITIVE LIFE SKILLS
Sports and fine arts activity programs promote positive youth development and provide opportunities for learning a number of life skills and values not typically taught in classroom education.
In a study looking at learning life skills through high school sports, a very diverse group of students participating in high school soccer reported learning skills related to initiative, respect, and teamwork/leadership.
A study of life skills developed through sports found that the process of participation and striving to win taught life skills such as discipline, work ethic, and emotional control.
Participation in the fine arts provides similar results. Students develop self-confidence and personal responsibility, experience enhanced communication skills, and learn to better time manage as they are required to use organizational skills and planning to get both schoolwork and after school activities completed.
Data shows that participation in school athletics was correlated with many positive educational achievements, behaviors and aspirations in the end of Grade 12 as well as two years later. The positive outcomes included “school grades, coursework selection, homework, educational and occupational aspirations, self-esteem, university applications, subsequent college enrollment, and eventual educational attainment.
A National Survey found that 18- to 25-year-olds who participate in sports activities while in high school were more likely than nonparticipants to be engaged in volunteering, voting, feeling comfortable speaking in public settings, and watching news.
It’s not just about college prep, either. We believe that God has gifted each student with a set of unique talents and abilities. Involvement in activities such as athletics, theater, praise band, MODEL UN, and others help students discover what these gifts are so they can carry them beyond their time at WCCS in preparation for an eternal service to our King!
POSITIVE CHRISTIAN MENTORS
At WCCS, our teachers and coaches act as Christian mentors to our students, pointing them to Christ in every situation. Players and performers play, pray and serve together alongside positive authority figures. It is our desire that through these opportunities, we teach students to use their gifts to glorify God and bless those around them.
If you have a student that is thinking about trying out for a sports team or other activity this year, encourage them! There are plenty of opportunities for greater involvement outside the classroom. I would love to speak with your student and help him or her figure out what gifts or abilities God has blessed them with. If athletics isn’t their thing, we have plenty of fine arts opportunities, service activities, and clubs to check out!
To end, as you talk to your student about the upcoming school year, in whatever they are involved with, encourage them to simply, “Be the light!” as I always say.
We hope you've bought your tickets for our spring musical, Fiddler on the Roof! Wondering what it's all about? Senior, Lauren O'Steen, gives us a behind the scenes look in this week's blog.
Tech Week is finally here, and I am very excited to see how everything has come together! The lights have been set, the stage is locked in, and costumes are labeled on the racks. The show seems as if it has been ages in the making, even though rehearsals only began a little over three months ago. Cast and crew members alike are counting down the hours until the curtain opens on Friday night for Fiddler on the Roof.
Fiddler on the Roof explores the story of Tevye (Gerald Wheaton), a poor milkman, and his wife Golde (Paige Turney), who, along with their family and entire Jewish community, face Russian oppression in the early 1900s. One of the things I love most in this play is that through Tevye’s story, the audience can clearly see how the love of God plays out into their lives. Tevye’s family is poor, but God still provides for their needs, protects them from persecution, and provides joy in times of trouble. Tevye’s relationship with God is more like one with a friend and mentor, whom he argues with when he feels wronged and celebrates with in good times.
"the audience can clearly see how the love of God plays out into their lives"
God can be seen not only on stage, but behind the scenes too. Of course, Fiddler on the Roof would not have been possible without the talents and direction of Mrs. Hali Christopher. Through her (albeit sometimes stern) guidance, every student is given the tools necessary to be successful in their role in the production, whether they have the main role or sweep the floor. God has also blessed the show with parent volunteers such as Jan Porter and John and Alice Olvera who are willing to spend hundreds of hours of their time to assist with sets and teach students about construction and natural painting. We also were given an abundance of community support that can be seen through business advertisements, as the program is longer than ever. Furthermore, cast and crew members were able to grasp a deeper understanding of Jewish heritage through the lessons of Mr. Berg, who is well-versed Jewish traditions and prayers, so the scenes can be as culturally authentic as possible.
As the line reader in the production (Yes, it was my job to read off the script during rehearsals when an actor called “Line!”), and being new to the program, I was able to watch the development of Fiddler on the Roof from an outsider’s viewpoint. I was there to experience the pure joy of when the boys performed the song “To Life” all the way through for the first time, and the tears that came when a rehearsal did not go as well as hoped. I have been amazed at the amount of effort the cast has put in over the past couple months, and I am extremely thankful to have been included in the show.
So how can you be a part of the show? Tickets can be bought at the door and pre-ordered on showtix4u.com. Performances are Friday night, April 20, at 7:00 p.m. and Saturday, April 21, at 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.
Please take time to pray for cast and crew members, that they will have the confidence to do their jobs to the best of their abilities and to glorify God from the opening monologue to the last goodbye.