NBC's 'SMASH' MAKE A MUSICAL, School #3: W.H. Oliver Middle School, Nashville

NBC's 'SMASH' MAKE A MUSICAL, School #3: W.H. Oliver Middle School, Nashville

By Cindy Ripley on January 26, 2012
W.H. Oliver Middle School, Nashville, TN

January 24, 2012

Reporter: Cindy Ripley, iTheatrics Senior Education Associate, Resident Master Teacher

Close up on an urban middle school in the heart of 'Music City USA’, better known as Nashville, TN. A school of 800 students from 59 countries that never had the world of musical theater in their vocabulary until today.  Rather ironic in a city where music legends have had their roots for almost a century.

The team at OMS has three tremendously excited and kid-centered teachers. Two are classroom specialists, and one is a music teacher new to the school who is developing a previously nonexistent choral program.  All of them are still overwhelmed at their good fortune to be chosen as one of the 20 ‘SMASH’ schools in the nation.  For a school and a community that has never had the opportunity to have a musical theater program, the teachers had great input as we overviewed the "how to" process of creating a sustainable program.  We blocked, sang and danced with 40 fabulous kids in a trailer, and when we had to stop so they could return to class, they didn’t want to leave.

One of the highlights?  Very few of the 40 kids knew each other when they arrived today, yet they worked as a team like pros. One of the million reasons why I love kids (besides the fact that they will always tell you when something is in your teeth).  I was very moved to find that the students of OMS worked together to fund school uniforms for kids in Sudan who are not allowed to attend school without uniforms. They appeared selfless and giving when many would consider these kids worthy of help themselves. Am I worried that this group of kids will understand the cooperative piece that accompanies the musical theater process? Not on your life - bring on the show, Gang!

NBC’s ‘SMASH’ MAKE A MUSICAL program is administered by iTheatrics under the supervision of Timothy Allen McDonald.  For more information, or to apply to become a part of the program, logon to www.MAKEAMUSICAL.ORG.