Chocachatti Elementary School is known for the outstanding performances of their students. Usually every year, each class puts on a show under the direction of the “Specials” staff made up of Dance teacher, Rhonda Bowers; Drama teacher, Irmarie Kraft; Music teacher, Nancy Kraus; P.E. teacher, Jennifer Flaherty; and Art teacher, Marianne Poholek. Last week, it was the first graders’ turn. On Wednesday, the 19th and Thursday the 22nd, they performed a show consisting of music and dance entitled “Hats”
Helping out in the effort was the first grade team made up of Sarah Adams, Laura Kent, Diana Lichtenwalter, Noelle Olszewski, Amada Siani, Sara Skidmore and Lisa VanCleave. The parents, as usual, were also involved in making the show a success.
The children had only been practicing the dance numbers since December. Considering they had no experience on stage, the singing, dancing and spoken lines were almost flawless.
Ms. Bowers stated that one of the most rewarding parts of the process was “seeing their [the children’s] excitement when they realize all the work they have put into rehearsing is now for their parents in the audience.”
Although the “plot” of the show was all about different kinds of hats and what they represent, the “theme” went deeper than that. The idea expressed by one of the songs is that what lies under the hat (your head and your heart) is more important than the hat, itself.
The children wore different styles of hats, from sombreros and Uncle Sam top hats to baseball caps and sailor hats. Some of the children had their hats chosen for them at random, while others chose a hat that had a special meaning to them.
Sorelle Schneider commented, “I chose the sailor hat because me and my dad always like to fish when we’re camping.”
“I chose the chef’s hat because I like cooking,” stated Giana Pagano.
The children shared mixed emotions prior to the performance.
Aika Creighton, remarked “I’m super excited. I’m feeling pretty confident and a little nervous.”
“I’m feeling happy,” said Logan Boucher.
There was a nice mixture of lively tunes and more serious ones. For example, the opening song was a catchy Cha-Cha. Then there was a patriotic song with children wearing red white and blue while waving flags.
In one of the numbers, the Mexican Hat Dance, all the children wore sombreros while dancing around the hats. One little girl’s hat kept slipping off her head, but she kept her composure. The song “My Head, My Heart” was a lyrical tune expressing the moral of the show. And then there was “Let’s Party” with a reggae beat.
All in all, “Hats” was enjoyable and fulfilling – for the students, the teachers, the parents and the audience members. With a show of this caliber by beginning actors, singers and dancers, one can only imagine what these children will be doing one or two years from now.