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Fine arts…finally!

Students socially-distance themselves during auditions for Minersville’s forty-seventh annual spring musical

(Captured: March 8th, 2021)

With the third quarter well underway, Minersville is welcoming the revival of its arts division! Choir practice returned on February 16th, as did band on the 25th. The Drama Club also conducted its first in-person script reading for this year on March 2nd. For months, the fine arts of Minersville have largely been on hold, although the marching band was allowed to participate in the 2020 Football Season home games. With exception of these performances, the music department has been on hiatus, until the Superintendent gave the greenlight to resume activities about a month ago.

February 16th was the first choir practice in nearly a year. All scheduled concerts for 2020 were cancelled, amid Covid-19 Pandemic. Band and choir director Mrs. Slovick hopes to reignite the flames of this program, pushing for a potential performance this spring.

“I would like to have a concert,” she said. “The auditorium would be the best [to perform in], however, maybe the gymnasium would work as well.” Participants in choir aren’t at all phased by the slight adjustments to their otherwise standard practice.

“We wear masks while we’re singing,” Mrs. Slovick said. “[W]e are socially distancing ourselves. Nothing else really has changed.” Slovick is an avid believer in musical expression, citing the fine arts as a great outlet for kids and teens to express themselves. Earlier in the fall, members of the marching band were blessed with an opportunity to perform on the field, some for their final time.

“We rehearsed using social distancing, which was odd for a band. We also had no drill on the field, so it was odd just standing still to play.” Slovick aspires to return with a ‘bang,’ featuring an instrumental piece entitled “Novena”; a medley of songs from Mama Mia!; a vocal performance of “Can’t Smile Without You” by Barry Manilow; and the iconic Julie Andrews song, “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”.

Mrs. Slovick aspires to hold an excellent performance this spring, regardless of the pandemic. “We are thriving, despite [the] challenges.” she said.

As for the drama club, auditions for the musical were held on Tuesday, albeit in an unconventional fashion. In past years, students would take the stage individually, and perform in front of an audience of fellow-cast members. This year, all potential cast members were scattered around the auditorium for their auditions, each spaced apart to abide by Covid regulations.

When it comes to pandemic-related conditions, director Sharon Angelo is fairly confident about in-person rehearsals. “I think social distancing for the drama club is going to be extremely easy to do; we just have to change some staging, and the way we do our choreography.”

It’s no surprise that the club is making a comeback. The group has persevered over these tumultuous times, opting to host a virtual play in the fall – a first for the district! Two plays were respectively recorded, “A Mystery Murdered,” and “Dr. Evil and the Pigeons with Lasers,” both released in January 2021.

This year’s musical will be a first for the Minersville Area School District, “a newer musical that some might not have heard of before,” as Angelo described it. “Something Rotten!” opened on Broadway nearly six years ago, and was quick to become a critical darling.

“I wanted to be the first school in the county to perform it,” she argued. “[A]nd I think it’s a really funny show that I believe the performers are going to have a really good time doing it, and the audience should really enjoy it.” Sharon’s personal favorite song from the production is the show-stopper, “A Musical,” performed by her favorite character, Thomas Nostradamus.

“The nephew of the Nostradamus. He’s a soothsayer who can tell the future, but he doesn’t quite get it right.” Nostradamus is one of a handful of major characters in this production, centering around the artistic plight of two aspiring play-writes. Brothers Nick & Nigel Bottom are struggling to compete with the genius of William Shakespeare, of whom is on the verge of writing his masterpiece. Nick relies on the help of fortune-teller Thomas Nostradamus, to steal Shakespeare’s story before he has a chance to write it. The musical also features an array of subplots that revolve around the important people in Nick’s life. “Something Rotten” is tentatively scheduled to be performed on the twenty-second through the twenty-fourth of May. When asked about the fate of last year’s musical, Angelo is adamant on completing its production.

“The show will be the last weekened in July. The dates are July 29th, 30th, and 31st. We hope to have the original 2020 cast in the show this summer.” explained the director.

With movement stirring among the fine arts community in Minersville, there lays hope in a gradual return to pre-pandemic normalcy.

Full interview with Mrs. Slovick can be found here.

Full interview with Sharon Angelo can be found here.

Writer: Lucas Hydock


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