Drama and Music Performances Dazzle SMCS Stage
After a three-year hiatus, live drama and music once again hit the stage in front of live audiences at St. Michael’s College School (SMCS).
“In so many ways, we are grateful for the opportunity to share once again the rich talent, tremendous work ethic, and joyful enthusiasm of our talented students through the Fall Drama and musical celebrations,” says Jamie Oatt, Music Department Head and one of the directors of the Fall Drama.
Frankenstein – A Radio Play
On November 11 and 12, 2022, our Centre for the Arts resonated with Dr. Victor Frankenstein’s famous words… “It’s alive. It’s alive”. A most fitting dialogue as it mirrored the absence of live theatre at SMCS due to COVID-19.
Performed in front of a live audience of over 300 people across two shows, the radio play format was the first of its kind at SMCS. Each performance featured stunning visuals, powerful voice acting, and creative staging and costumes, all brought together with live sound effects.
The talented cast featured ten actors, six Foley artists, and a team of five stage crew operating lights, sound, and video. The production was directed by faculty members, Enzo Carcasole, James Oatt, and Lynette Fernandes. Lighting, sound, projections, and atmospherics were supported and designed by theatre staff: Keith Hebert, Stephanie Grinton, and Steven Cline.
“The success of ‘Frankenstein – A Radio Play’ actually exceeded my expectations in regard to the theatrical experience that we created for our audience,” says Oatt. “Seeing the Foley artists create the sound effects live was truly engaging. One could observe the actors reading their lines while scanning the stage to take in the detailed backdrops and interesting lighting effects, and then watch the Foley artists move about a range of objects to create the tinkling of glasses, the sound of footsteps on pieces of wood, or the rush of a wind and rain storm. It was truly fascinating.”
Thanks to the overwhelming success of the inaugural radio play, the Drama Department is considering a production of ‘A Christmas Carol’ as a radio play for 2023-24.
Christmas Concerts ring in the season
It would not be a proper beginning to the season of Advent without the SMCS theatre being filled with the sounds and melodies of Christmas presented by our Music Department.
The annual Christmas Concert series celebrating the achievements of our talented music students kicked off with a neighbouring elementary school concert on Monday, November 28. With an audience of 400 students and teachers from Holy Rosary Catholic School, Hillcrest Community School, and SMCS Grade 7 and 8 students, guests were treated to a concert hosted by our Sr. Concert Band and Sr. Jazz Ensemble Big Blue, under the direction of Oatt. The 45-minute concert featured seasonal carols and a performance of Prokofiev’s ‘Peter & The Wolf’, which was guest narrated by the principals of both Holy Rosary and Hillcrest.
On November 29, the first evening of our public Christmas Concerts included performances by the Grade 8 class ensembles and the Sr. Concert Band, followed by a second concert featuring the SMCS Drumline, Grade 10 Band, and special guests, Holy Name of Mary College School Sr. Choir, under the direction of Anne Morrone. The evening’s finale was a version of Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus performed by the Sr. Concert Band arranged to include a mix of Christmas Carols sung by the HNMCS Senior Choir.
The final public concert hit the stage on Thursday, December 1, featuring our Grade 9 Beginner Band, the Sr. Woodwind Ensemble and Flute Choir, Sr. Jazz Ensemble, Grade 9 Advanced Band, and finally the first live performance of the Chicago Trip Band. Highlights from the final concert included a performance of ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’ and a spirited version of ‘Sleigh Ride’ by the Chicago Trip Band.
“The validation of three months of work by our students is so important to their development as musicians,” says Oatt. “The annual Christmas Concerts never disappoint and always inspire our student-musicians to look forward to the opportunities during the rest of the school year, while also setting the tone for the season of Advent in our school community. The sounds of various Christmas carols had been reverberating in our halls for several weeks and finally took flight in our Centre for the Arts theatre. Thank you to the many families and friends who came out to support our bands and ensembles. It was a wonderful sense of community and sharing of musical gifts.”