Leapin’ Lizzards!

2019 Marked the 10 year anniversary of the BFA Fairfax fall musical under the production of Mr. Jerry Bailey. Upon my arrival this summer, I quickly began to notice the dedication, passion and hard work throughout the many, many students, adults and community members involved in this year’s production of Annie. With over 31 Middle School students, 38 High School students; 2 student musicians; along with 14 community members involved in bringing Annie to our stage, the final performances this past weekend were heart-felt, full of a sense of community and a perfect example of the power of community theater.  

Each year’s production is announced in the year prior. Auditions are held each spring and are attended by a spectacular variety of performers. Somehow, each year the production team seems to fit the skills of the performers with roles that are a just-right fit for the growth of their talents.  

Immediately upon my arrival at BFA during the summer of 2019, I was astounded by the array of work and responsibilities taken on by cast and crew. This year’s production involved student led choreography, direction and behind-the scenes set development. From Choreography camps, vocal workshops, rehearsals and even dog-training (for our guest star Fozzie!) all ages and abilities came together to coach, rehearse, practice and refine the smallest to the biggest parts of the musical for months on end.

Even in the weeks prior to the final performances, students were leading the charge and helping one another to refine choreography, cues, set pieces and lines to make the performance the best it could be. Having had the opportunity to enjoy all 4 performances, it was amazing to see our student performers refine and relax into their roles, while backstage seemed to be operating seamlessly.  

While the performances were each a highlight in their own right, listening to the students’ post-performance appreciations for one another, their mentors, their families and communities was a true joy.  

Some may discount the arts or theater as frivolous, however, I know I am not alone in my observations that throughout the development, rehearsal, performance and beyond it is clear that through these experiences we are developing aware, involved, articulate, thoughtful and committed community members. Through their involvement in this year’s, and future productions, our students are practicing the transferable skills which we hold in such high esteem across all of our work at BFA Fairfax: Clear and Effective Communication; Self-Direction; Creative and Practical Problem Solving; Responsible and Involved Citizenship; and Informed and Integrative Thinking.

Each student should be proud of their role, whether it be on the stage or back stage (or in the pit, as the case may be). To share in the joy of the audience across all of the performances was a privilege. We hope that in the future you will continue to support our theater program either through attending the shows, donating concessions, or helping with costumes. It takes a community to put on a show this large, and we appreciate everyone who has assisted us over the years. See you next year! Looking forward to next year’s performance already!

This Season of Giving:

One of my favorite parts of living in Vermont, and Fairfax in particular, is the sense of community and willingness to help our neighbors. Each year, BFA Fairfax students across our schools work together to support area families in need. Prior to the Thanksgiving Break, students in grades 5-8 come together to create Thanksgiving Baskets and Break-Boxes for area families who are food insecure. Student leaders step forward to assist with shopping for ingredients, the assembly of meal kits and preparations for delivery/pickup. Our goal is to ensure that every family in the Fairfax community can celebrate the upcoming holidays in warmth and comfort.

Beginning in December, BFA Fairfax is host to a variety of opportunities to support area families in need. We hope you will join us in the spirit of generosity this season. Winter Gift Giving Mitten Trees will be on display in both the Elementary & Middle/High School Lobbies from December 2-12. Middle and High School classrooms will be conducting our annual December Happiness Food Collection & Coin Drop in classrooms. Grades 5-8 are taking part in a “coin war” fundraiser and High School Classrooms will be accepting Food Donations. Finally, we are also hosting a Winter Sock Drive from December 2-20 in both the Elementary and the Middle/High School Lobbies.

Wishing you a warm and hearty Holiday Season!

Justin Brown is the Principal at BFA Fairfax Middle School is a regular contributor to THE FWSU STORY.

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