Spring is in the air and we are busier than a hive of bees! While everyone else is making plans for Spring Break we are planning our Spring Show. The show is a Gonyons tradition going back many, many years. It's a big production with big rewards.
It all starts with a theme. Over the years we've had some memorable ones like Classic Rock, Animals, Show Tunes, Country, Around the World, and Candyland. This year it's Splish Splash. How do we pick the theme? Around Christmas time we have a staff meeting and we brainstorm! There's a lot we have to take into account before we can settle on a theme, for example we ask ourselves "Can we find music, leotards, and decorations to fit our theme?" Once the theme has been decided the coaches scramble to get their music.
Choosing a song for each class has it's own challenges. It has to be age appropriate and family friendly. Many times coaches will want the same songs! We have to post a song sheet and who ever writes it down first gets the song. We've learned it's best to be creative with our song selections.
Next we have to choose costumes/leotards to match the theme and the song. We also have to keep in mind the price and available sizes. Certain leotards are made for younger students, while others are made for the older kids. Also, we put a cap on the amount a costume can cost so we don't break the parents pocketbook. That means half of the catalog is automatically ruled out!
From there Coaches have to make up routines for each song. While this doesn't sound difficult, I assure you it's not an easy task. We have to make sure every student will be able to perform the skills in the choreography. That includes tumbling skills, dance moves, and use of props. Props can be an additional piece of equipment, ribbons, hats, maracas, etc... This guarantees no two routines will be the same!
Now comes the fun part, we kick the parents out of the gym and start teaching the routines to the kids. I know it's difficult not being able to watch classes, but parents we want it to be a surprise! Trust me, it's worth it!!! When the kids finally get to perform they are all smiles :)
As the day of the show draws near we get ready for pictures. At the beginning of May we start scheduling portraits. Pictures are not required, but for those who do want them they must be prepaid and scheduled in advance. It's necessary for us to do this so we know how long we need to book the photographer. Woodland Photography comes to the gym in the morning the day before the show. They do a fabulous job! Each year they make a special portrait of all the kids in their costumes for the Gym to display.
After the photographer is finished and packed up we get ready to tear the gym apart. Our entire staff and their families gather at the gym with as many trucks as possible and we pack up the equipment and haul it over to Oakridge Middle School Gym. We take the special regulation gym floor, bars, beams, rings, trampoline and vault. We also have numerous floor mats, wedges, port a pits, crash mats, and dismount mats to bring. Oh and don't forget we have to make sure we have all our props. Our checklist also includes tables, chairs, sound system, decorations, table service, trophies, and arts & crafts for the kids to keep busy back stage. Of course, hauling it to the school is just half the battle. Now we have to set up all the equipment and decorate the school. If it wasn't for our families volunteering their time and man power I don't think we'd be able to put on such an amazing show! It's a long hard day for all of us.
The day of the show we arrive at the school bright and early to do the final preparations. We have a concessions table that the Gym Team parents run while the Cheer Team parents sell flowers and candygrams. All proceeds go to the teams. There's lots of bustling going on in the kitchen too. After the show students and parents are invited to stay and have cake and punch.
Thirty minutes before show time students arrive, dressed and ready to perform. Parents drop the kids off at the locker room then find a spot in the bleachers. Coaches stay in the locker room with the kids. It it maned at all times. Kids stay in the locker room for the entire show. At the end of the performance they receive their trophies and they all come out for the grand finale. Now, usually we more than one show. For example: Mon & Tue classes in the first show, then Wed, Thurs, & Sat classes in the second show. The team kids perform at all show times. Some years we've had so many students performing that we've done three shows! In between shows the coaches grab a quick bite to eat before heading back to the locker room to do it all over again.
After the last show is done and the students have cleared the floor we go right into clean up mode. Immediately our staff and volunteers tear down the equipment and load up the trucks. We also clean the school so it's ready for students the next morning. By the time we haul all our stuff back to Gonyons Gym we're tired, sore, and hungry. We literally toss the equipment in the door and go out to celebrate a job well done.
During the next two weeks the staff deep cleans the gym and has to put all the equipment back together without the help of our families. Whew! We put a lot of time and energy into our Spring Shows! We also get all joy out of it. The kids are all beaming with pride after they get their trophies and, as a coach, that's priceless!!!