High School Assembly Program
Our annual High School Assembly programs have multiple goals: education through the performing arts as a vehicle for change, improved understanding and connection between peoples of all backgrounds; and increased awareness in Southeastern Michigan of Music Hall programs. The Assemblies are designed to draw out the themes contained in our annual Broadway musical theatre production, which are chosen for their topical relevance and significance to young people. Classroom teachers are provided with introductory material that introduces students to the material in the Assembly presentation, and all participating students are invited to Music Hall for a Main Stage performance of the work that formed the basis of the Assembly.
We kicked off this series in 2011 with FELA! – the smash hit musical about the life of Fela Kuti, the Nigerian musician who is considered of the father of Afrobeat – that world music phenomenon that laid the groundwork for many of today’s hip-hop and rap rhythms – and was also a politician and activist who stood up to forces larger than himself, drawing worldwide attention for issues of social injustice, discrimination, and political oppression. The work was so well-received that it was brought back by popular demand in 2012.
You can check out excerpts of some of these incredible performances at area high schools.
Carrie The Musical, based on Stephen King’s classic story, was the basis for our 2013 Assembly program, entitled ‘Broken Mirrors: Bullies and Bystanders’. We partnered with Oakland University’s excellent Department of Music, Theater, and Dance to stage the production, and created Assembly focused on anti-bullying awareness and mitigation. The ‘Carrie’ theme resonates strongly in our contemporary culture, as schools and communities strive to raise awareness of what has become a widespread threat in the youth community - a threat that is all too often headline news. The Assembly explored extensively the topic of bullying, considering the various forms and degrees of the problem, how it typically begins and then escalates, and offering tools and techniques for recognizing and stopping it in typical situations. The Program did not shy from touching on some of the tragic outcomes of recent years. It also placed bullying on a spectrum that featured historical and present-day instances of more extreme versions of bullying, including genocide. Heavy material yes – but the incredible artists who present these performances ensure, with a generous helping of music and dance, that the experience is overall a positive and uplifting one.
In 2016, Music Hall commissioned an exclusive musical and spoken word theater show about famed opera singer, Roland Hayes. Alongside America's Got Talent's Travis Pratt, and Detroit's own Joel Fluent Greene, Music Hall produced a show that was loved by students and adults alike, helping to extend the legacy of Hayes and the importance of his work, in our own community.
Is your high school participating in our program? If not, please reach out to Karen McBride at 313-887-8520 to inquire!CONTACT COORDINATor