- Upper School
For the first time in more than a year, NSCD students performed live on the auditorium stage March 11-13 for the spring musical production, “Hindsight 2020: Looking Back to Our Past Selves and Looking Forward to Who We Strive to Be.”
The show featured solo, duet, trio and ensemble performances of a variety of songs from popular musicals including “Hamilton,” “Dear Evan Hansen,” “Les Miserables,” “West Side Story” and “High School Musical.” In between musical numbers, students shared their reflections on this tumultuous year.
“It started as an idea and grew into a lovely story that captured the heartache, isolation, good times and weirdness of 2020 with hope for the future ‘normal,’” explained Julia Macholl, NSCD performing arts department head and upper and middle school theater teacher.
Due to restrictions on gatherings, a live audience was not allowed. Instead, the school streamed all three performances so friends and family could watch from the comfort and safety of their own homes.
“This was definitely not the average spring musical,” Julia said. “There was so much uncertainty, so we had to be prepared with at least three or four backup plans. When the upper school switched to remote learning temporarily in mid-February, students still rehearsed independently so they were ready to hit the ground running when we returned in person.”
Although the process felt more improvised than a typical musical, it was also meticulously choreographed and blocked to maintain a 6-foot distance in accordance with state guidelines. Students were also required to wear masks at all times—even while singing.
“One of the biggest challenges for me was helping students find ways to sing expressively and effectively while wearing a face mask,” explained Upper and Middle School Choral Director and Music Teacher Timothy Mah. “The closest equivalent I can think of is tying a tennis player's wrists together with a large rubber band and then telling them to go and play an effective tennis match—it’s not easy to do! That said, our students rose to the occasion, using variations in volume, tone and color in their voices, along with expressiveness in their eyes, to bring to life some really beautiful and poignant songs from the musical theater repertoire.”
This was actually the third production of the school year. In the fall, the school held its first-ever outdoor performing arts festival with three sold-out performances. And instead of a traditional winter play, students worked together to write and perform two short films—“A Central Park Adventure” and “A Big Day Out for Snail!” The entire production was pre-recorded before the school transitioned to remote learning between Thanksgiving and winter break and shown online during a virtual all-school gathering in December.
“This has been such a bizarre year,” Julia said. “But I feel very fulfilled. Luckily, I have a fantastic production team with Technical Director Manny Ortiz, Music Director Timothy Mah and Choreographer Cameron Turner. We’ve been very fortunate to be able to put on these productions with the help of the entire school and administration.”
- Performing Arts
NSCD held a Fall Day of Service on Saturday, November 13, benefiting The Bloc in Chicago and Connections for the Homeless. More than 200 food items were donated on Saturday for The Bloc, supplementing what had already been collected by an upper school student-led food drive.
Earlier this month, NSCD welcomed singers, drummers and dancers from the American Indian Dance Center of Chicago (AIC), who performed for the entire school at Morning Ex. The program was a cultural demonstration in recognition of Native American Heritage Month.
The NSCD upper school troupe, The Duff Players, will perform “You want some lunch? You betcha!” on November 18, at 4 p.m. in the auditorium. The Duff Players is a cast of upper school students tasked with bringing to life a collection of third and fourth grade stories through movement, music, costumes, props and much more.
Almost 150 children received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine Friday, November 12, during a vaccination clinic held on campus. The school partnered with the Illinois Department of Public Health to provide pediatric doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for children aged 5-11, as well as booster doses of Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer and Moderna vaccines for faculty and staff. The clinic was open to NSCD students and their families, even if siblings attend school elsewhere.
The fall John Almquist Art Gallery features the works of 17 members of North Shore Country Day’s faculty and staff. Artwork on display includes ceramics; fiber arts including felting, knitting and quilting; photography; painting; and more. The show runs through November 19.
Each year, Middle School Science Teacher Lee Block requires his eighth graders to build and launch bottle rockets. The goal of this project is to apply what they have learned during their study of Newton’s Laws of Motion.
The friendly competition is designed to see who can launch a bottle into the air and keep it afloat for the longest period of time. Students must follow specific rules about the type and size of the bottle, the design of the nose cone and fins, the parachute and the amount of pressure (PSI) pumped into it.
NSCD is a sponsor of this upcoming Family Action Network program on November 4, at 7 p.m.
For more information and to register visit the FAN website.
North Shore Country Day's senior kindergarten class recently paraded around the school dressed as monarch butterflies, singing songs and displaying their handmade wings with their parents and our community. The students learned all about monarchs through an integrated curriculum that incorporated literacy, math, science, social studies and art.
The junior kindergarten recently painted rocks with inspirational words written on them and hid them in various spots around campus for students, faculty and staff to find.
Each year, NSCD hosts the Harold H. Hines Jr. Visiting Fellowship that brings to campus a distinguished individual who exemplifies the school motto, “Live and Serve.” This year’s visiting fellow was Rajiv Vinnakota. Raj has dedicated his career to supporting students from underserved communities and to building a stronger democracy.