HMA Performing Arts students perform for third graders at the Barn Theater

Harmony Magnet Academy of Performing Arts students performed a short play, "Career Kids" for Porterville Unified School District third grade classes on Friday at the Barn Theater.

The third graders, along with their teachers came in three different sessions to see the play.

The short play used music and dance to keep the energy high, with children on screen talking about what they want to be when they grow up.

Host Carol Gutierrez told the audience about the show, and said, "We get to see real people on the stage and we have to be a real kind audience and clap."

A firefighter and police officer, played by Anali Alcantar and Erik Ortiz are interviewed by the host and commentator. Then an IT technician, played by Tiff Ortega, was interviewed after the lights started to flicker on stage (on purpose) during the performance.

Afterwards a pediatrician, played by Cambria Arias was interviewed, along with a nurse, played by Paul Gonzales. Arias held her stethoscope up to a volunteer's chest from the audience and heard her heartbeat, and Gonzales showed a boy from the audience how to perform chest compressions on a CPR dummy. Then a teacher, played by Jocelyn Ibarra was interviewed and said she loved her job.

After the short skits, the musicians played "Believer" from Imagine Dragon which they played early in the show, and all the kids sang along and clapped.

It was a really fun interactive show, and the third graders really got involved and enjoyed themselves. They were also a respectful and wonderful audience.

Gutierrez played the host and said she liked it at the Barn, and she'd never been there before, and it was unique.

Adrian Ayala played the trumpet in the band, and enjoyed being at the Barn. "I thought I'd be nervous, but I'm not. It is really fun being here and I look forward to the next time.”

Caitlin Plumlee has performed at the Barn for years, and said it's like a second home for her. She was a singer in the Harmonics in the play, and she also talked to the kids before the performance and got them excited about the show. "I think it is really awesome that we get to give the third grade children an opportunity to explore their career options."

PUSD Board President Lilian Durban and PUSD Assistant Superintendent Brad Rohrbach greatly enjoyed the show, along with Pathways Director Cynthia Brown, Pathways Learning Director Eric Santos and Pathways Curriculum Coach Rhonda Wilen.

Denise Everhart of the Barn Theater said the Academy Performing Arts students from HMA were an amazing group of kids, supportive and encouraging of each other, and really worked together on every aspect of their performances. 

"This is really a good opportunity  for the Barn Theater and PUSD Pathways to come together and support one another with local art in the community. Gordy Plaisted and Charles Hickinbotham are the heart behind this,” Everhart said.

"This has been incredible and it's due to our Pathways students. These kids have so much respect for each other. And they were all in their places and ready to go without a word from the director. I have to give it to the Pathways teacher for creating such a community of students," said Plaisted.

In the play "Career Kids" careers shown were traditional: firefighter, police officer, doctor/pediatrician, nurse, teacher, and an IT professional. But also the professions of musician, singer, and dancer, and show host, and announcer were also highlighted.

The show was very positive, entertaining, and was a nice way to let kids know they can do anything they want, just be brave and strong, as a song near the end of the show says. It was uplifting and empowering.

The audience of kids and teachers was wildly enthusiastic throughout the whole production. Kids sang along to the songs, clapped along, and appreciated the interactive fun of the play. They really got involved, and asked questions, and gave their opinions when asked what they wanted to do when they grew up. 

On the way out, after the show, kids nodded their heads when asked if they enjoyed the show, and if they had fun.

Tiff Ortega, who played the IT tech, said, "It was really fun to see all the little kids reacting to the show.

"Cindy Brown had a vision for this show quite a few years ago,” Wilen said, "and we had prepared for it, but then COVID happened.

“We revived it this year and here it is. Our primary purpose is to remind children that they have skills and talents that they can nurture in the coming years. But we don't expect third graders to know what their career will be — but they can be developing their skills, talents and interests." Source: Porterville Recorder