Cordova’s Musical Magician is at it again. We have been delighted by the Christmas programs and many other performances Chelsea Corrao has spearheaded throughout our schools since her arrival here two years ago, but the dynamic teacher and her students topped it all with “American Voices: Celebrating America from Armistice to the Moon.”
The salute to veterans, featuring Mt. Eccles students grades kindergarten through fourth, was presented before a packed house in the Simpler Gym on Nov. 14, replete with costumes, songs and dance; as well as the continued amazing ability of Corrao to guide lively youngsters through an hour of entertainment without saying a single word.
Fourth graders dressed as famous Americans narrated the trip through history, with each grade-level class, dressed in era-style apparel, taking turns singing and dancing to classics of particular time periods. Is there anything more fun than watching happy young children in action?
It turns out Mrs. Corrao’s name is pronounced “Core-ee-oh,” rhyming with the cookie “Oreo.” It also rhymes with the first part of choreography, of which she does an amazing job. We are so enchanted with watching all these smiling performers enjoying every moment of their time on stage that we overlook her kneeling in front, leading them through all the movements.
Also perhaps unnoticed during one of the routines was our Musical Magician moving out to dance with a student whose partner was evidently missing. They made a fine couple; and the young lad wasn’t the least bit intimidated to be dancing with his teacher, which speaks much of their trust and affection for her.
Clearly, some of the performers spent extra time practicing for the program. One had to be 1st-grader Brody Donaldson, dressed in tight jeans, a white T-shirt, slicked-back hair, and dark shades, who wowed the crowd with his Rock and Roll moves. Brody’s tutor was his great grandmother, Helen Donaldson Makarka, CHS Class of ’57.
“That was our era, you know,” she said. “But he wore me out wanting to dance so much.”
Armistice Day commemorates the signing of a treaty to end hostilities on the Western Front between Germany and the Allies in World War I. The agreement took place on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918. The date was declared a national holiday in many counties, and Nov. 11 is now recognized as Veteran’s Day in the United States.
It occurred to me while watching this heart-warming performance that the 100th anniversary of that 1918 agreement is next year; and sadly, the periods of armistice have been few and far between for this country since it was signed.
Many of us have served, and the veterans present were asked to stand at the end of the performance to receive a round of applause.
It was a much appreciated gesture; yet nothing made that service seem more worthwhile than watching Mrs. Corrao and her Mt. Eccles students cheerfully and proudly perform “American Voices.”