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Three HMS alumni, Michael Sauder (‘94), Joshua Zimmerman (‘03) and Lindsay Martin (‘05) consented to answering a questionnaire about their involvement in drama at HMS and the impact this had on their lives. Here is a summary of their responses.
Photos from past HMS drama productions
“Not only is it a great activity that kids enjoy doing, but it helps provide the foundation for public speaking in ways that in-class presentations can’t replicate and in my case, can lead to very real career paths.”
--Michael Sauder, HMS alum
Note: Photo slideshows require Flash installation. iPhone, iPad and other mobile device users, click the photo link above to view photos at Picasa Web Albums.
How were you involved in drama while a student at HMS?
Michael had small roles in Charlotte’s Web (’92)and The Best Christmas Pageant Ever (’92). He also recalled a role in an elementary Christmas musical and helping build the stage for Charlotte’s Web.
Joshua acted in Hans Brinker or The Silver Skates (’01), Henry’s Red Sea (’02) and Charlotte’s Web ’03), often taking lead roles.
Lindsay also began with parts in the annual elementary Christmas program productions, which introduce students to the basics of memorization, dramatic expression and characterization. In middle school she had lead roles in Charlotte’s Web (’03), The Best Christmas Pageant Ever (’04), and The Secret Garden (’05). These roles gave her the confidence to do small monologues or performances at events like the spring program.
How did being involved in drama impact you as a person?
Michael stated that he had “no doubt the experience of being in front of an audience helped build public speaking skills.”
Josh found confidence in himself to do something he enjoyed. He said, “When I was on stage, I did not care what people thought of me; I was having fun.”
Lindsay learned a very important lesson, to “not let anyone look down on you because you are young.” She tried out for a small role in Charlotte’s Web in 6th grade but was “blown away” when she received the lead role. This lesson enabled her to pursued positions of leadership she might not have felt herself capable of doing, despite her age. Another thing she observed was the appreciation for drama from teachers, administrators and parents and the value of including the arts in education. By having this love fostered in her at an early age, she has become a creative person who “seeks to be an artist, just as God himself is an artist.”
Since leaving HMS, how have you been involved in drama?
Michael was heavily involved in the backstage work building scenery and served on the tech crew as a student at Lancaster Mennonite. At Rochester Institute of Technology he quickly became the Master Electrician in charge of all the lighting, as well as assisted in supervising the carpentry crews and stage manager in their complex dance shows. Following RIT he did some freelance professional lighting work in NYC and still volunteers occasionally at an off-off Broadway theatre called the All Stars Project.
Josh was involved in Garden Spot High School plays from 9th through 12th grade as an actor and stage manager. He also managed shows at the Ephrata Performing Arts Center and currently works at Sight and Sound Theater.
Lindsay was also active with the drama program at Garden Spot High School. While she learned that getting roles is far more competitive in high school, she was able to perform onstage for three productions, including musicals, which were beyond what she had experienced at HMS. She was also involved in stage crew, lighting and sound, make-up and costume crews and box office, which expanded her knowledge of what all is actually involved with theater. Lindsay also did drama as a ministry, including teaching a drama class at summer camp, served as Drama Officer in youth group and was involved with mime performances. She also wrote and produced a children’s musical at her church.
What, if any, impact did being involved in drama at HMS influence your involvement in drama in post-HMS years?
Michael felt that HMS provided the roots for his theater experience, which became a major part of his high school and college experience. If he was not in classes in college, he was in the theater. He stated, “ I firmly believe that all good technicians should have some acting experience.”
Josh reflected that if he had never seen Winnie the Poohin first grade at HMS, he would have no idea what he would be doing now. He said, “I saw that play and could not wait to be in the play when I got to middle school; it just fascinated me by what I was seeing on stage.”
Lindsay also stated that HMS had a huge impact on her involvement in drama later in life. It provided her with the confidence to “charge right into high school auditions.” Also, her belief that everyone is creative was a big contributing factor to her idea for her children’s play.
Any additional thoughts, comments or suggestions concerning the HMS drama program…
All three former HMS students stated that they hope drama remains an active part of the HMS program. Michael stated, “Not only is it a great activity that kids enjoy doing, but it helps provide the foundation for public speaking in ways that in-class presentations can’t replicate and in my case, can lead to very real career paths.”
Josh pointed out another very important lesson by stating, “Let the students know it is OK to look silly while you are on stage,” thus enabling them to become more confident individuals.
Lindsay emphatically said, “I think the HMS drama program is utterly indispensable.” She felt that students who remain in middle school at HMS have the opportunity to get more involved with drama then they might in a larger, more competitive school. She also stated that the whole school community is drawn together when they come to see the HMS play, as well as members of the outside community. In her words, the plays demonstrate “the good work being done at HMS. Keep it up!”
2017 Stuart Little
2015 Little Women
2014 Two One-Act Plays: The Tortoise & the Hare Race Again and The Trial of Goldilocks
2013 Robin Hood
2011 The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
2010 Stuart Little
2009 The Five Little Peppers
2008 Patchwork--The Little House Life of Laura Ingalls Wilder
2007 Henry & Ramona
2006 Anne of Green Gables
2005 The Secret Garden
2004 The Best Christmas Pageant Ever
2003 Charlotte's Web
2002 Henry's Red Sea
2001 Hans Brinker or The Silver Skates
2000 The Adventures of Beatrix Potter & Friends
1999 The House at Pooh Corner
1998 The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
1996 Charlie & the Chocolate Factory
1995 Winnie the Pooh
1994 The Sixth Grade Scrooge & No Room in the Inn
1993 The Best Christmas Pageant Ever
1992 Charlotte's Web
1991 The Velveteen Rabbit
1990 no production
1989 no production
1988 Henry's Red Sea