12.4.2019 - 3:45 PM - Vivian Gehring

On the afternoon of Sunday, November 17, the sound of music and singing could be heard at the Ogema Town Hall as the students from the Prentice School District (PSD) showed off their talents at the 1st Annual Variety Show [VIDEO]. The seats were filled as talents were displayed by students, from tricks and jokes to singing and dancing.

Usually the PSD does performances such as The Lion King or last year's Aladdin. But as Jane Dettmering, PSD's former musical director stated, “Because of the construction and the band having the stage, Mr. Bergman suggested using the Town Hall.” The town hall is a very small space which would have made it hard for the students to perform a musical, so Harmoni Jesunas, the PSD Music Teacher and also a former musical director, came up with the idea to create a variety show. 

She held auditions for students to participate in the show. Then Jesunas, teacher Hilary Pond, and 5th grade student Luca Blomberg worked together to write the script for the show. Performer Zoe Price auditioned for the show and stated, “With the variety show you auditioned to be in it, unlike in musicals where you auditioned for a certain part.” 

The variety show worked for the size of the Town hall, but it is an old building and required some work in order for the performance to take place. “For the people involved, like the director and the sound people, there is a lot of work that takes place behind the scenes,” stated Jesunas, and boy was she right. The building had to be cleaned, and the chairs and other equipment along with working lights had to be set up . Due to snow, the sidewalk had to be shoveled for the audience to to even enter the building. Needless to say there were many late nights to get ready for the show. 

Doing the show at the Town hall had both disadvantages and advantages. The disadvantages being the fact that the space was so small, which meant only smaller groups could perform. There was limited room for costume changes to take place considering they had no dressing rooms. Price went through the struggle of pulling off several dress changes, but even with the challenges, Price stated, “I liked it overall. I missed being in a musical but was able to be in so many acts it made up for it.”  Additionally, it was nice to include the community of Ogema, which shuttered its elementary school this year. 

Compared to the past musicals, the variety show was a lot more calm, without everything being organized as it usually was. Dettmering explained this stating, “Being the director, you have to get all of the costumes and people. The musical is a lot more work, because you need everyone to get the parts played out. With the Variety Show it was not as stressful, and students could choose what they wanted to do.”

This Variety Show was the first and may be the only show that is like this As Jesunas stated, “I liked the variety we were able to display with this show; although, I would like to see the tradition of the classic musical continued as well.  Because I think there’s something very special about music theater.”

PSD's 1st Annual Variety Show