BY BROOKE SMITH
Students from five local schools will be able to take the stage and perform, all thanks to the help of a pop singer.
The SING musical program — which allows city students to write, cast, rehearse and perform in an entirely new musical — will be expanding to five Queens high schools to increase arts participation and engagement.
SING began at Midwood High School in Brooklyn in 1947 and the program has recently been able to expand to 10 more schools because of a donation from singer-songwriter Taylor Swift in partnership with Fund for Public Schools.
The ten high schools in New York City were chosen from a pool of 20 applicants. The five Queens schools selected were Bayside High School, Flushing High School, John Bowne High School, Martin Van Buren High School and Thomas A. Edison CTE High School.
“SING gives our high school students an opportunity to work with their peers and create and execute a program from start to finish,” Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña said.
The selected schools serve about 15,000 students. They will receive training and support as they implement their SING program this year to build campus identity and and cooperation.
Ernest Pysher, who has overseen successful SING productions at Midwood High School, will be visiting each of the 10 selected schools throughout the year to provide support in the creation of SING scripts and rehearsal and production schedules. ArtsConnection, a community-based arts partner will be supporting schools with theater production including set, costumes, lights and props. Students from all schools will be creating grade-level short SING performances.
The schools will begin their script-writing and casting process this month. Most final performances should be occurring in the early spring. The total cost of the SING expansion for the 2015-2016 school year is approximately $122,000.
“This is a wonderful program for developing passions in the arts and for building school and community spirit,” Fariña said. “In particular, co-located schools will also be collaborating, bringing new excitement and camaraderie for our high-schoolers. The SING students are going to gain skills and experience that they can use in college and throughout their lives.”