CLOSE ENCOUNTERS: CHMS theater class performs for kindergarten students

Published 3:00 am Saturday, October 20, 2018

When kindergarten students have a close encounter with “Three Little Ghosts,” the atmosphere is electric.

Three groups of kindergarten students from the Hank Jones Early Learning Center were frightfully delighted by the performance of Jenny Meadows’ theater class from Charles Henderson Middle School Friday morning at the Troy Public Library.

Meadows said “Three Little Ghosts” was the first performance of the year by her students. But if the students had the first-time jitters, it was not evident in the way they performed.

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“I wanted their first performance to be before kindergarten students,” Meadows said. “Many of my theater students had never been on stage before. I knew they would be more comfortable before a group of kids than they would be performing before adults. I was pleased with the way they performed. They seemed to have as much fun as the kids.”

Meadows said “Three Little Ghosts” is an adaptation from a story performed by the Pied Pipers at Troy University.

Dr. David Dye, retired dean, Troy University College of Communication and Fine Arts, formed the Pied Pipers, a children’s theater group, in 1970. And, the Pied Pipers is as well received by audiences today, as it was those many years ago, Meadows said.

Several of the performers were in costume but others were dressed in the same kind of clothes they would normally wear to school. And, that was by design, Meadows said.

“A big part of theater is learning to tell a story with your voice and your body,” Meadows said. “Theater is all about telling a story.”

Following each of the three performances, the CHMS theater students changed hats and played carnival games with the kindergarten students.

“This has been a very exciting and fun experience for our students,” said Tina Adler, kindergarten teacher. “For many of them, this was their first opportunity to see a play. And it was a great experience for them to see young people perform. We really appreciate this opportunity for our students.”

Older students often serve as role models for the younger kids and having the older students take up time with them makes a lasting impression.

“For many of our students, this was their first time to visit the Troy Public Library, so today has been a good introduction to this wonderful facility,” Adler said.

The performance by the CHMS theater students and their interaction with the young audiences were good ways for Teresa Colvin, TPL children’s librarian, to promote the library and learning.

“I love to see the way children react to the performance,” Colvin said. “They get so excited, even the shy children. It’s almost as if you can see them thinking, ‘That’s fun. I can do that.’ Our hope is that they all will be inspired to try new things and do new things. Hopefully, one day they will be the ones performing for the little kids here at the library.”

Colvin said the hope is also that young first-time visitors to the Troy Public Library will go home and tell their parents about their visit and they will come back with their children.

“The library is a wonderful place for parents and children to come together. And, reading is one of the best ways for parents and children to bond,” Colvin said.

“And, we know that students who read and enjoy reading do better in school. The Troy Public Library is an outstanding library with many resources that are available free of charge. Reading is fun and the Troy Public Library is a fun place to visit.”

And, what a fun place the library will be from 6 until 8 p.m. Wednesday, October 31, when the library will host a family-oriented Halloween Carnival complete with a Halloween costume contest and loads and loads of Halloween games especially for kids ages 12 and under.

“The Halloween costume contest will be held early so prizes can be awarded,” Colvin said. “We have a lot of brand new games and they will be downstairs and upstairs. I can’t tell you how much fun we will have, so plan now to visit the Troy Public Library on Halloween night for fun games and lots of Halloween treats.