Hundreds of Rosary Academy students, family, friends and alumnae gathered on March 10 and 11 to watch the most-anticipated event of the year, the 48th production of “Red & Gold,” which featured two musical theater shows performed by two separate student teams, Red Agents and Gold Spies. The Red Agents were awarded winners for best overall show by the end of the March 11th performances. Special commendations were awarded to the Gold Spies for best dance and drama. The Red Agents were also recognized for best script and best media and props.
Every year in March, students in grades 9 to 12 perform a musical theater production entirely created and organized by students and focuses on a single theme. This year’s theme is “Game Over” and involves the collaboration of nearly all of the school’s 400 students. The Red Agents’ script used the theme to show how technology affects family relationships, using comedy and the concept of levels in a video game to help a family rebuild their unity by engaging with one another through a variety of bonding activities at each level. The Gold Spies used time travel in their story and a book written by the main character’s deceased mother to demonstrate how memories can live on even after death.
In the weeks leading up to the show, five to six students are chosen to serve on the White Team to oversee the entire production. In December, team captains are chosen for leadership roles in choral, drama, fashion, dance, props, stage tech, drill and script. The team captain selection process is highly competitive. A student must be in good academic standing, an upstanding Rosary Academy Royal, demonstrate an aptitude in one of the categories, display leadership potential, be self-motivated, eager to collaborate and possess strong organizational skills. A student leadership committee selects the captains and, if chosen, captains create and execute costumes, write the script, act, design and execute stage props, create all media for the performance, lead two on-stage choral and plan the dance and drill routines. By the end of January, the entire student body is divided into two teams, red and gold. The category and color is then announced at a school-wide rally, followed by a Red & Gold Mass, presided by Bishop Kevin Vann, and the 6-week preparation for the main event in March finally commences.
“As students participate in a variety of categories, intermixed across grade levels, collaborative learning allows them to develop higher-level thinking skills, deepen their sisterhood bond, build self-esteem and enhance the Rosary experience,” said Kristie Rueff O’Campo, Rosary Academy’s director of Advancement. “Additionally, participating in this project-based learning assignment creates a dynamic environment that challenges students to explore real-world situations, such as leadership and communication skills.”
Since the school’s founding in 1965 until 1968, Rosary Academy hosted an annual talent show. The idea of “Red & Gold” was eventually proposed by a parent, Charlotte Ovando, but since facilities to hold such an event wasn’t available, the idea did not come to life until 1971. The first production was a sequence of performances by each category and lasted for four hours. The second year followed the same format and after fine-tuning the format in the third year, the production has become a more organized, competitive but collaborative tradition amongst the students at every grade level.
“I am always in awe of the students’ ability to rise to the occasion, to present themselves with integrity and most importantly to smile throughout the Red & Gold season and every day for that matter,” said Shawna Pautsch, Rosary Academy’s Head of School.
Students are also responsible for raising funds to support the production. Once the school collects the funds, a budget is provided to each team and captains are responsible for managing their finances.
Each team can begin accumulating points early in the process. Points can be earned for signage and publicity, cleanliness of rehearsal areas or for showing sportsmanlike behavior. The total points are calculated in the end to include those earned from the performance of their show. Judges are selected to evaluate the 6-week preparation process and the final shows. The judges are typically experts in acting, dancing, entertainment, college admissions representatives and alumnae. At the culmination of the intense 6-week prep, students would have learned skills in budgeting, leadership, collaboration, communication and creativity.
“It’s a competition but they learn so much,” said Dottie Linton, who has two daughters performing on the red team. Her two older daughters are both Rosary alumnae.
Lora Martinez, mom of a senior daughter who served as red team dance captain agrees.
“Rosary is a sisterhood; everyone becomes sisters. It doesn’t matter what team they are on, they become closer, they become sisters.”
A video featuring the “Making of Red & Gold,” can be found on Youtube at bit.ly/2FyDKuG. If you missed the show, visit rosaryacademy.org where a DVD of the full production will soon be available for purchase.