ABC Sunday Afternoon aired a repeat of the Schools Spectacular this past weekend. For those who've not heard of it, it is an initiative of the New South Wales Government's Department of Education that has been running for the past 21 years.
It is a program that helps students of public schools to develop talents in performing arts. All the performers are high school students and some of the singers are pretty amazing. There are a core group of singers who perform one or two songs solo and join ensembles for the larger numbers. Ranging from pop, musical theatre, indie rock, country to opera these kids perform like pros.
The numbers for this event are huge: an 80-piece symphony orchestra, a 700-voice choir, a 20-piece stage band, 1500 dancers and 50 featured artists must be absolute chaos at the culmination of it all at the Sydney Entertainment Centre. Trying to imagine the logistics of this type of thing puts me in a cold sweat, but the experience of performing in front of an audience that big and the whole experience for all those students involved would be worth it.
No matter how you were involved, one of fifteen hundred dancers, in the choir right at the back, backstage making sure everyone has the right prop, there is an amazing buzz that goes with being part of theatre. Those of us who work in the biz thrive on it. Those who are involved as a hobby have day jobs to feed their habit.
If I'm not being clear, being part of nearly any performance is like a drug. And when I come off a big show, there's always what we call post show depression (a.k.a. withdrawals). So if this event can spark a theatre habit in even a few of those kids, then I'm a happy dealer.
Now the rest of the country just has to start doing their own Spectacular.