SPAE 10 SPAE 10 SPAE 10! Counselor APP

Hey Folks!

It’s time!!! We’re gearing up for the 10th Year of Leland and Gray’s Summer Performing Arts Explorations! Can you believe it? Interested in working at SPAE this year? Click here to read about the role of a SPAE Counselor.

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Counselor Grant! Look at that charm.

Here’s this year’s counselor application.

Counselor Application

July 23-August 5, 2017

Dear Leland and Gray Summer Performing Arts Explorations Counselor applicant,

We, the SPAE staff are SO excited at the prospect of adding you to our terrific team this summer-for the BEST SUMMER OF SPAE YET! The role of the Counselor has evolved greatly over the past 9 years of SPAE and we are thrilled to be able to continue this opportunity for high schoolers in our community. Counselors are involved with SPAE in a wide variety of ways. The directors work to place you in areas highlighting your strengths while providing you with opportunities to grow in all areas of the arts.

We’d like you to write us a letter about why you think you should be a Counselor In Training at SPAE. While there is no length requirement for the letter we are looking for you to really describe to us why this job is important to you. That most likely means you will need to write more than one sentence for each item. At the minimum, be sure that your letter addresses the following items:

  1. Why would you make a great Counselor at SPAE and what does that job entail?

  2. If you were trying to get a 5th-8th grader to take part in SPAE how would you describe the program to them, and why would you want them to be a part?

  3. It’s the end of the first week of SPAE, the campers have found other people they feel most comfortable with and seem to be sticking only with those people. What are some strategies for YOU to take the lead and mix up social groups at SPAE?

  4. What’s something you’ve become interested in the past year and are excited about? (Literally anything, we’re just curious.)

  5. What are you proud of? Send us a video, photo, audio file, writing submission or other media showing us what you love to do. This can be uploaded to google drive and shared if the file is too large for email.

  6. Hey! Have any ideas for this year’s show? (Think about your favorite stories and if they could be put on the stage!)

**Community Service: We are SO excited about Leland and Gray’s new community service requirement for graduation. We are working to find out if some of your SPAE hours can count towards that, and then you can be paid for the remaining hours! We’ll keep you posted!

Please address your letters to Abby, Emily, and Karlie and email to by May 1st (due to a competitive pool of applicants no late letters will be accepted.)

Thank you!

Your SPAE team of Directors,

Abby, Karlie, and Emily

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ThurSPAE2: Stumble and Run Through!

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Holy cow. We made it through! We didn’t finish until 3:05… but we made it through!
I don’t have many photos to share with you today because the directors were fully employed for every moment of the whole day. You’ll have to use your imagination.


-We ALL stay through until the show. We will set up our Potluck Dinner at 4pm so please send something to share in with your camper in the morning or make a delivery at 4! Thank you so much in advance for helping to feed our community as we get amped to give you a terrific performance!

-We still need Flashlights! We have 2!!! They WILL get back to you! Tape+Name!

-The show starts at 7 the doors open at 6:30, be sure to tell your friends and family! Admission in by donation and this money goes towards paying our amazing staff of counselors. Share the Facebook Event!


-Call for Campers is at 1pm. A good lunch and a restful morning are keys to success. Don’t forget that it’s Hospital Fair Day in Townshend that day-plan accordingly!

-The show is at 4 and doors open at 3:30!

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WedneSPAE 2: Stumbling Through…

Oh man. Today! This morning we finished blocking (which we totally forgot to have an enormous cheer/dance party for…) and this afternoon we began our “Stumble Through.” This means we begin at Scene 1 and work our way through the show in sequence. Directors will stop and fix things, sometimes run things again, but mostly we try to power through. We made it through more than half of the show, but did some really important cleaning-up.

An ENORMOUS thank you to our Counselors and Campers that finished up all set pieces and props… the state of our behind-the-scenes work this year has perhaps broken a SPAE record. So fantastic.
Tonight- memorize lines and cues, memorize songs, blocking, dances… we can do this.

Tomorrow we finish the stumble, run the music, finish some dancing and blocking, run the show, and hopefully remember to breathe somewhere in there. This community is incredible. I feel so lucky to be swept up in this particular kind of magic.

We have one flashlight! We need more!
Share the Facebook Event so that the Valley knows how great your kiddos are!
Share the Flickr Page so the Valley knows how great your kiddos are!

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TueSPAE2: Race Against The Clock

We are pushing hard at SPAE. What we ask of these youngn’s is not so reasonable…and every year they never cease to amaze us. Once again, we will push hard, and I know they will rise to the occasion. We’re so close to being done with blocking, we’ll hopefully wrap up tomorrow morning and stumble through the show in the afternoon.

Nathaniel and Karlie blocking

There is SO much music in “Peter Pan,” more than we’ve had in any SPAE show yet. This afternoon the incredible pit-band (Susie, Nathaniel, Fairen, and Emily,) stayed to rehearse the tunes. I am forever in their debt. And while we tooted away on our horns Grant and John Butler hung lights-AMAZING AMAZING AMAZING.

TODAY we had the extreme pleasure of having a Costume Workshop led by Abby and a Makeup Workshop led by Johnny. Total Rockstars. I can’t wait to see what emerges as campers work on their costume and makeup designs.

It’s hard to illuminate just how far the SPAE community extends- but we are SO thankful to all who make this happen. Look for an email from Abby tonight-here are the main points:

-On Friday we will all STAY through the day and until the show. We will have a potluck dinner beginning at 4:30. Thank you in advance for preparing a dish to share and getting it to camp either in the morning or by 4. Our hungry campers and staff will thank you!!

-Saturday the show is at 4 and call (when campers should arrive,) is at 1. Keep in mind it’s Hospital Fair Day. Plan accordingly.

-We will have concessions on Friday to help pay our wonderful counselor staff, if you can contribute to this, AMAZING.

-We need flashlights! If you can send one in please make sure it’s marked with your name!


IMG_2573Ellie worked with Peter Pan (Julie) and Shadow (Hope) today, SO cool.

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Links to songs-Most of them stay fairly true to the original, but if you follow your scripts you’ll notice differences. Singing along with these recordings will be SO helpful because then you’ll get a sense of what the band will sound like! Good luck!!!

1. I’m Flying:

2. Wendy:

3. Yo-Ho! (Only some of the verses match.)

4. Neverland

5. Mysterious Lady

6. Ugh A Wug (We’re only doing a little of this.)

7. Tarantella

8. Lost Boy

9. I Wont’ Grow Up

10. I Gotta Crow (We’re doing a shortened version)

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MonSPAE2: The Gang’s All Here

We’re back at it! Today we welcome Nic Tolbert and Tino Benson back to the SPAE community-they’ll be mostly working in the shop during the rest of our time together. Tino spent the day sculpting the CROCODILE and Nic continued work on our sign to display outside of the Dutton. We’re so glad they’re joining us!

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Blocking, Blocking, Blocking… We’re tumbling through staging the show. In order to get it all done in two weeks we’re constantly asking “What can we do with this time?” and then we split in at least 4 directions to be blocking, learning music, rehearsing dances, and working on sets/costumes/props. Holy cow. The SPAE community is quite a work force.

Tomorrow we’ll have a make-up workshop and costume workshop, along with continuing to stage the show and learn music. So proud of the work the team is doing. AND LOOK, WE FINALLY GOT A GROUP PICTURE!

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FriSPAE! Sarah, Blocking, CONTRADANCE!!!

I hope you all had a restful weekend full of line-blocking-song-dance memorizing! Yay for rain to keep you inside learning all of those things 😉

We accomplished much in our first 5 days together, it’s stunning, really. But we have much left to do as we move towards our performances. On Friday we enjoyed the second installment of Sarah Grasso’s movement workshop. She wrapped up the group-choreography and moved on to our solo dancers. They choreographed their own solos and will be featured in the Ugh A Wug Dance. They are each so unique and beautiful and look so challenging… so cool.

We also moved forward with blocking. Blocking is the process of getting actors on the stage and giving them the basic directions of where they should move during the scene. Blocking is what you do on stage. This process can sometimes be frustrating and lengthy, but so far our actors have done an incredible job of focusing and digging in to the work!

When folks aren’t blocking they are playing games outside with counselors or working on sets/props/costumes. I can’t believe how much has been accomplished already!

We conclude week one with “Got Your Back,” we moved around silently with paper taped to our backs for about 20 minutes writing experiences we’ve had with one another during the first week, or what we look forward to doing with that person in the second week. It’s always pretty amazing to see what people write. #Community

All weekend long I’ve been stomping around my house swinging imaginary partners, do-si-doing them, and sashaying up and down my imaginary sets. The Contra Dance was INCREDIBLE. We missed those that couldn’t make it-but I promised we danced hard enough for everyone! Definitely check out the Flickr Page to see those awesome pictures!

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