Most Montclair High students are probably familiar with or have heard of the School Of Visual and Performing Arts, or SVPA, a club for people interested in all forms of the performing arts. This broad organization includes musical theater, plays, tech crew and pit band. In this club there is something for everyone: the artists, singers, dancers, actors and team leaders. Some people may not know that SVPA is also a school program, like Dance Company, or that the Visual Arts portion of this club works with the school’s art department.
One of the most significant aspects of the SVPA experience is the sense of community within the program. As a member of SVPA, I have first hand experience of what this program is all about, but I decided to ask a some other people from different parts of the club for comments on their SVPA experience. Cristina Angeles, a senior this year, is the head stage manager for the Spring Musical. When asked what a stage manager does, she very enthusiasticly told me about her role and how much the club has taught her. “[Stage Managing] is basically being the director’s right hand, and we make sure the show runs smoothly and looks good,” she comments, “but the best part of it is getting to be equally close with all the cast AND all the crew!” Cristina has been in SVPA for three years and says that the most enjoyable part of the program is the people and that it makes her feel like she belongs to a group who shares her interests. She also adds, “SVPA is a family. That’s the only way I can describe it. We spend so many hours together that we can’t help it, we just become a family by the end of a show. It’s like the one place I think that, for most of us, we can forget about whatever stress we’re under or problems we’re having, and just do what we love with the people we love.”
Cristina is not the only one who considers SVPA to be a “family”. Autumn Green, a junior, has been involved in SVPA since her freshman year and takes part mostly in the musical theatre part of the club. When I asked her what she had to say about SVPA’s atmosphere as a whole, she told me that “SVPA is not like a lot of other organizations and clubs. It’s not something people go to because they need to join for credit, or feel obligated to do. It’s a group of people who share a family-like bond over something that they all have a passion for and truly enjoy. SVPA includes people from all different social groups and everyone comes together and feels like family. For most of us, it’s our home away from home.”
So far this year the club is busy at work rehearsing for their fall showcase. The fall showcase is basically a musical review with a specific theme each year. This year’s show is called “A Night At The Round Table”, featuring music from the 20’s and 30’s such as George Gershwin, Irving Berlin, and Noel Coward. (For details on the showcase see bottom.) When taking a look in on rehearsals, it seemed that they were making great progress. They are also currently casting for their winter drama performance, Pride and Prejudice, directed by Dr. Stephen Vallillo, the acting and English teacher, and head advisor for SVPA. The spring musical’s show has yet to be determined.
Overall, SVPA is an all-inclusive experience and it seems as though no matter who you are or what makes you different, the club helps students find common ground and create a type of intimacy only those involved can truly understand.
The winter showcase, “A Night at the Round Table”, will be showing on December 2,3,4,9,10 and 11th, Friday and Saturday nights at 8pm and Sundays at 3pm, in the Little Theatre of the Freshman Building.
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