After 8 weeks of hard work it was finally show time. The following is the introduction to the show taken from the programme:
Based predominantly on songs from the world of Musical Theatre, When I Grow Up is a musical exploration of the concept of growing up. We look at this idea from the three different perspectives that are represented in our choir: Children, Teenagers and Young Adults.
At the start of the show the audience is introduced to a bunch of highly spirited yet hungry and neglected orphans. We meet characters taken from famous musicals, such as Oliver and Annie, and follow them in their quest for a better life.
We then progress from the innocence of childhood to the terrible teens. Through exploring concepts that include feeling self-conscious, falling in love, wanting to be a ‘grown up’ already and standing up for who you are, we get an insight into the blood sweat and tears you go through as a teenager.
Throughout the course of the production the young adults will comment on and offer advice to their younger performers as well as presenting a few different realities of being “grown ups”. Do these realities match the dreams of the younger ones? Or will they perhaps decide to slow down and enjoy their youth while they can? Let’s find out… We hope you enjoy the show.
I felt sick with anticipation most of the day (luckily I quite like that feeling!) The dress rehearsal had gone quite well the night before, the younger ones particularly were very confident and knew every entry and exit right down to the last detail. The main thing slowing us down were microphone changes, we had to change our plans as we didn’t have as many working radio mics as we had hoped for. This meant that before the night of the show we hadn’t actually been able to run the second half of the show smoothly from start to finish. But I guess that’s part of the fun, right??
Despite a few unexpected hiccups (think a few sheet music disasters and shrinking your outfit in the wash and only realising as you attempt to put it on when you’re already running late)I managed to stay pretty calm. I arrived at the Montserrat Cultural Centre to find all the younger children in their costumes ready to go (Thank you Loni and team!) Check out this video of some of them entertaining themselves outside before the concert. It will cheer you up if you’re having a bad day! Warming up
The teenage choir was upstairs in the dressing room doing some last minute dance practice. When I brought them down to the stage to go over some last minute details we were bombarded with frustrated audience members outside in the lobby. They were demanding to be let in as they had been told on the radio to arrive early. I couldn’t believe it.. people were early in Montserrat! The poor ladies on the door were about to cave in, but we stood our ground. We would open the doors at 7pm as stated on the tickets. Plus, we really needed those last 10 minutes practice on the stage!
To our delight we managed to pack out the Montserrat Cultural Centre, something I had only seen happen once in my time here. I expected a decent size of audience, but nothing like this. There was such a buzz and sense of anticipation in the auditorium before the start of the show. It was my job to introduce the event. Considering I used to have so much trouble telling an audience my name and the title of the piece I was going to perform, I have come a long, long way in this regard!
The whole event could not have gone much better. The children were courageous and I sensed very little stage fright despite the fact that I am sure very few of them would have ever performed to such a big audience before. Their spirit and energy on stage was infectious and I could tell that they engaged the audience right from the very start and held their attention throughout.
The teenage choir brought something special out on the night. I think they had been slightly shocked after seeing how good the younger ones were at the dress rehearsal the night before, and so they definitely pulled out all the stops on the night. They blew me away during their first song, 13 from 13 The Musical, with the amount of energy they brought on to the stage. What a way to close the first half. A few videos made it onto YouTube. You can watch them here:
More videos can be found on the ‘My Montserrat’ Facebook page in the Videos tab.
Photos are courtesy of the Montserrat Reporter and Spirit of Montserrat.
All the soloists also surpassed anything they had done in the rehearsals, proving themselves as the talented performers that they are.
The audience were amazing, supportive and delighted with what they saw. People were glued to their seats and couldn’t take their eyes off the action. They laughed and cheered in all the right places giving the performers an extra boost of confidence. The choir was appreciated with cheers and a standing ovation at the end which is giving me goose bumps as I remember it. I have experienced many standing ovations but this one was different somehow, even more special.
Judging by the reaction of the audience on the night and the comments I and others received afterwards, people were completely astounded by the amount of talent they witnessed. Loni, Jo-Annah and I were constantly bombarded with requests to do a repeat performance of the show. Many members of the community were in tears during and after the performance, completely overwhelmed by what they saw. I still get stopped in the street, 6 weeks after the performance, by people who want to congratulate me on the performance and who ask when and where they can buy DVDs of the production. Facebook was covered with photos, videos and comments after the show. Here are some of them:
Montserrat Has got Talent!!!! Here is a Peek into A Night with The Montserrat National Youth Choir Featuring their Masterpiece Production of “When I Grow Up” at The Cultural Center!! A Sold Out Event!!Standing Room Only, Broadway Here We Come ………… Absolutely Spectacular!!!! (My Montserrat Facebook Page)
60 unbelievably talented young people on Montserrat being members of the National Youth Choir perform in an outstanding Musical & Theatrical production titled “WHEN I GROW UP” amazed the crowd at the Montserrat Cultural Centre.- (The Montserrat Reporter Facebook Page)
The most impressive musical production I have ever seen on Montserrat! It was the debut of our first National Youth Choir. It was professional, extremely entertaining and second only to Broadway! It is the “talk of the island” and we are hoping that she will put it on again.