Hamden Hall Country Day School

Educating students in PreSchool through Grade 12

Sixth-Grade Gets Poetic in Musical Performance

Sixth-grade students turned a collection of whimsical poems from the book, Could You Hug a Cactus?, into a musical showcase during a recent performance in the Taylor Performing Arts Center.

Dressed in simple black T-shirts donning the words Could you Hug a Cactus written on the front, the production opened with two students introducing the show with a poem titled Fine Place to Start. Students performed in front of their Lower School peers and teachers.

As the stage lights lowered, Lower School music teacher Rachael Jungkeit led the music on piano. One-by-one, the students navigated through the performance singing and dancing the lyrical rhymes detailing the imaginative poetic creations. In the poem Buttons, the students performed lyrics about their dancing robot Buttons while another group of students sang about the impact of words in Words, Words, Words. In between the ever-changing poems, one student performer got too nervous to share her poem. However, through encouragement, she shed the self-doubt and harnessed her imagination to give life to her own creation. The performance ended with all the students on stage singing the finale song.

Following the performance, the sixth-grade students engaged in a talk-back with the audience. One audience member asked how long it took to rehearse the performance to which a student answered “many months.” Another audience member asked how it felt performing for a live audience to which one student commented “it was nerve wrecking, but the feeling disappeared after the first song.”

Theatre teacher and performance director Lisa Daly noted that the students began learning the lyrics in January and characters were cast in March. Stage rehearsals began in May and the students worked hard to make it all come together, she said. Ms. Daly thanked art teacher Kristen Thornton for helping with the stage props and the flexibility of Grade 6 teachers Andrea Calandrelli, Beth Hunter, and Caroline Shelton.

“It was a team effort through and through for this performance,” commented Ms. Daly. “The students worked tirelessly to learn the dialogue, lyrics, and choreography. It was a remarkable show.”
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Hamden Hall Country Day School is a nurturing and inclusive community with a dynamic learning environment that promotes academic excellence by understanding each child and fostering their individual growth.