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Lights, Camera, Action

It started with the Elves and the Shoemaker in December 1996. I was one of the giggling, happy little elves who was thoroughly and genuinely appreciated by my audience. It was the next year, though, that I really caught the bug. I was cast as Santa Claus in ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas. Every giggle from the audience, every individual chuckle, clap and sound made me rub my stuffed tummy or caress my long white beard with a new sense of purpose. The venue wasn’t Broadway, yet I would argue the audience was even better. No group of human beings show genuine, full bridled enthusiasm quite like an audience of children. The first Montessori school I ever worked at was filled with an interesting and quirky group of teachers who had a tradition of performing a Holiday Show for their students. It was a strange concept, but I quickly came to learn that children were tickled by seeing their teachers onstage and in costume. It was carefree and genuine fun. When I came down the aisle in a little red wagon pulled by five reindeer (we had a small staff) the enthusiasm from the audience was intense. The energy and joy in the room was palpable. Who knew that my childhood dreams of being a teacher and being an actress would come together on a December day in the school auditorium? Fast forward sixteen or so years to my first year as Head of School. We were trying to take a unique approach to getting people excited about the Annual Fund Campaign. The staff was also determined to find new and interesting ways to share with the school community how much we love HMS. I shared the stories of teachers performing for students and the excitement that came with it. One conversation led to another and soon the Variety Show was born.

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