Sheen pink and crown shaped balloons tied on sparkling crown centerpieces catch the eye of children walking into the gym as they are directed to their tables by a princess. Fifteen minutes linger after 12 o’clock and suddenly the lights dim, signaling the beginning of the Bonita Vista High School Vocal Music Department’s showing of their annual Royal Tea performance. Bass Section Leader and senior, Hugo Sanchez announced, “Ma chere Mademoiselle, it is with deepest pride and greatest pleasure that we welcome you tonight. And now we invite you to relax, let us pull up a chair, as the dining room proudly presents, your tea!”.
The Royal Tea showcase held by the VMD on Sept. 8 consisted of an assortment of VMD students dressed as Disney princesses and characters, set up with booths for children to interact, color, listen to Disney stories, dance, watch magic shows and get a princess makeover.
New solo performances are implemented each year and this year with four in total that were brand new. One of which, was a song from the Disney film Frozen titled “Let it Go”, performed by Soprano 1 Section Leader and senior, Angela Arce.
“I think factors such as the music, the lighting and the spacing created an overall comfortable and relaxing experience for audience members. As for the ensemble, the adrenaline rush of performing can sometimes be a nerve-wracking experience, but at the end of the day, the time spent with children makes for an entertaining one for performers as well,” Arce said.
Arce has been participating in the VMD for 5 years, including participation in the Bonita Vista Middle School Choir, due to her experience and “vocal accuracy”, she had been granted with the role as Elsa from Frozen. Arce mentioned how VMD Director Gail H. Kennedy felt her rendition of “Let It Go” measured up to the original singer, Idina Menzel.
“I did not initially intend on being [Elsa], but Ms. Kennedy was very open to anyone fulfilling that part. I felt confident performing as that character knowing that the entire ensemble and the director fully supported me and had faith in my abilities to sing as that character and play that character,” Arce said.
Rapunzel was first to take the stage singing “When Will My Life Begin”, performed by mezzo singer and junior, Isabelle King. King had performed as Rapunzel the previous year and expressed how she intended on playing the same princess again.
“Royal Tea was one of the best this year. Everything ran smoothly because everyone helped out the most they could to setup and teardown. A high point of this years’ Royal Tea was definitely being able to interact with the kids that were dressed up. It was also cool to see the girls dressed up as the princess I was,” King said.
Other than the princess solos of the show, Tenor Section Leader and senior, Jamil Suffy-Ferro played as Peter Pan in the song, “You Can Fly”, and enacted as this role for his fourth consecutive year. He mentioned how he had brought up playing the position his freshman year to Ms. Kennedy, given from his “personality” being very similar to the character.
“I love that after talking to every child they leave with the impression that they’re Peter’s best friend. I always try to study the character in advance and brush up on the acting because I absolutely love the excitement in their faces when talking to me,” Ferro said.
With the royal tea coming to an end, each table’s designated princess brought the families back to get seated and VMD began to perform the Disney song, “If You Can Dream”, sung by all the princesses with mini solos in between the rest of the groups. Bubbles filled the air with children running around and squealing. The show finally came to an end with the princesses and Disney characters holding their hands up to the sky and the music slowly dying down.
“Our main goal is always to make these kids feel like they’re in Disneyland and I definitely feel like we never fail to bring the magic of it to them,” Ferro said.