Commonwealth Journal

Local News

May 9, 2013

Energetic musical reviving SHS acting arts program


Somerset —

That’s the technical part. Turning students who had never done any acting at school before into Danny Zuko, Sandy Olsson, and the whole gang required a significant mindset shift.
“The most rewarding (part of all this) for me has been watching the kids’ mentality about the arts change,” said Massey. “When I first came, we had some kids who said, ‘I don’t want to do this,’ and I said that’s fine. Six months later, they come up to me and say they wish they stayed in class. Maybe the arts can be something they’d like to be a part of. It’s a pretty awesome thing to watch.”
The popularity of youth-oriented shows and movies like “Glee” and “Pitch Perfect” have played a role. Massey said the school plans on putting together an a capella group to do contemporary numbers much like in the film “Pitch Perfect” and a choir concert that spans decades, from the 1940s up to what’s currently on the radio.
The result is that the talent available in the school is coming out of the woodwork. “We have kids in choir who didn’t know they could sing, didn’t know they could act, and all we did was hold an audition and here they are,” she said. “... It’s been so rewarding to see kids in drama class who were totally in a shell, then be like, ‘Can I do this on stage?’ They just light up.”
In a school as small as Somerset, only a few hundred students strong, most kids have to wear lots of different hats — those in clubs, those in sports, those in the play are all the same kids. Thus working out a feasible schedule for the kids to do all these things has been one of Massey’s biggest challenges, but it’s a labor of love.

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