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An assembly to remember: the SJS inaugural teacher talent show

Grace Bowling
Director of Clinical Services Colleen Kimball performs “Quando m’en vo” featuring choir director Brendan Emig as her occasional boyfriend.

As lights dimmed in the auditorium, students watched the stage in silence, awaiting the final performance. Within an instant, music blared overhead, and teachers poured onstage in brightly-colored house shirts. Brandishing their pom-poms, the dancers ended the first teacher talent show with a bang.

On Sept. 15, faculty members filtered onstage to perform in front of the Upper School, revealing acts ranging from cheerleading to opera singing. Students were left in awe after discovering the hidden talents of their very own teachers. 

While the talent show lasted only 40 minutes, hours of rehearsal went into practicing the acts behind the scenes. Preparations began in June when Tanya Cummings, Associate Director of College Counseling, formed the idea.

“She had this brainchild and sent out an email to teachers, telling us to start thinking of ideas,” said Upper School math teacher Alice Fogler (‘10).

Fogler and Upper School math teacher Kimm Shafer encouraged other colleagues to join as well since the dance was short and “easy to learn.” Teachers attended rehearsals up to three weeks in advance to learn and practice the routine. Upper School cheer coach D’Hania Hunt coordinated their act and walked them through the dance.

“She shared videos of the dance as well as versions of the song that allowed us to practice at our own pace as we learned the routine,” Fogler said. 

Fogler learned the routine in a short amount of time due to her college dance minor, coaching experience and high school dance background. Even so, it took some work to adjust to the new style.

“I did ballet, so this dance was a different style than I was used to. Although I knew the routine in my head, sometimes it was hard to get my body moving in the correct order,” Fogler said.

After mastering the skills, Fogler felt confident enough to perform in the front row. Although the teachers felt worried at first, their fears were diminished as their hard work was rewarded with the audience’s enthusiastic cheers. 

 “It was really fun to be up there—so many students were supportive about it afterwards,” Fogler said. “A couple of the cheerleaders came to me, telling me that they’d done the dance and were very impressed that we learned it.”

 The cheerleading performance was not the only act that amazed audience members. Colleen Kimball, Director of Clinical Services, has a long history in professional opera singing. Her musical talent allowed her to showcase her life beyond being the school nurse. Inspired by previous student performances, Kimball decided to give the talent show a shot.

“I’ve watched Upper School students be brave in such vulnerable situations like chapel and assembly,” Kimball said. “I was so impressed with that bravery that I wanted to be brave too,” Kimball said.

Kimball decided on “Quando m’en vo,” a song from the opera “La Bohéme.” Brendan Emig, a Middle and Upper School choir teacher, played the scandalous boyfriendMarchello. They spent two rehearsals with the pianist, perfecting their performance.

“I wanted to pick something that I really knew well, that I could sing upside down with pneumonia,” Kimball said. 

Kimball’s passionate collaboration with Emig was a hit with students, who were caught off guard by their shocking yet hilarious intimacy.

“I knew that when I was all over him, everyone would laugh their heads off,” Kimball said. “He’s a very seasoned performer and a good sport to have acted this part, even though he has a magnificent voice himself.”

After successful acts and abundant praise, it’s clear that the first ever faculty talent show will not be the last. Performing teachers have begun assembling their colleagues for next year. 

“Now that they see how fun and harmless it is, I think we will have a bigger turnout next time,” Kimball said.

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About the Contributors
Isabella Adachi
Isabella Adachi, Staff Writer
Isabella Adachi ('27) joined The Review in 2023. She has watched Gilmore Girls all the way through three times.
Genevieve Ederle
Genevieve Ederle, Staff Writer
Genevieve Ederle ('27) joined The Review in 2023 as a freshman. She loves to organize her life on Notion, and she can’t stand black coffee.

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