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Hillside students shine in Beauty and the Beast Jr

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An amazing set, props and costumes, the talent of 30 plus students, the vision of three directors, and the hours of planning, creating and rehearsing culminated this week in Valleyview with Hillside High’s masterful production of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast Jr.

"It was fantastic! They worked so hard and what they were able to accomplish with the singing, acting and choreography is just really awesome." - Sarah MacLellan, Grade 11 student

The group, comprised of students from Grades 7 through 12 who auditioned for roles, performed four shows for their community and fellow students at Hillside, Oscar Adolphson Primary and Harry Gray Elementary. They performed for an audience of over 300 people on opening night, May 25, and to over 1,100 people in total over the first three performances.

All of the students in the musical are volunteers who were interested in doing a musical.  Some are members of Drama, Art, Choir, and Band and some just wanted to try something new. Everyone involved has been planning and rehearsing on their own time as part of this extracurricular opportunity. - Steven Chaffey, Director and Teacher at Hillside Jr/Sr High School

Teachers Steven Chaffey and Vimmy Berry, along with community member and director of the Valleyview Community Choir, Barb Hatch, have been planning the musical since September. Students have been in rehearsals since late October. Their efforts certainly paid off. 

One student commented on what an amazing job everyone did, sharing that she has never seen a high school play quite like this one.

Drama is an outlet for kids; it gives them the freedom to express themselves, explore their interests and talents and find confidence in doing so. At the centre of all Drama is communication. Like all the arts, Drama allows students to communicate with and understand others in new ways. 

From the singing, acting and dancing, to the lights, sound and set, the audience was transported to Belle’s mid 18th century hometown in France, and of course, the Beast’s castle, before our very eyes.

Seeing it all come together was one of the highlights for performer, Brooke Loewen, Grade 7, who played Lumiere.

“Just watching the scenes and the choreography and everything is something I really enjoyed, and getting to know other kids that I wouldn’t normally meet.”

According to teacher and director, Vimmy Berry, the students who took part in the musical are so excited that they are already talking about what they want to perform next:  

"It is thrilling to see the growth and enthusiasm of students who weren't sure they could perform a singing role at the beginning of the production and ended the run with confidence and a passion for the arts." 

Art and Drama students, and a number of enthusiastic helpers from the community, took the lead in designing, building and painting the impressive sets.

“I’m so proud of the students, this performance is really above and beyond and this group of kids really care about each other.” - Barb Hatch, Community Member and Co-Director.

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