On Thursday, March 1st, a group of CMHS/MS students studying the various disciplines of the arts programs were able to learn what really goes on behind the scenes of the performing arts at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts. Joined by two other schools, the trip was a unique experience put together by the Segerstrom Education Department and a program called Vital Links.
Joined by chaperones Mr. Lindfors and Mrs. Gilboe, the students were split into separate groups of about 10 and traveled from station to station, learning various aspects of the technology of stage production. Aided by volunteers who talked to them about each area on such subjects as lighting, sound, and backstage technology, the students were also able to view the areas of Center and see things a normal theater goer wouldn’t have normally seen.
Professionals talked to students about the acoustics of the theaters and how the science of it aids the audience’s perception of the performance and creates a more magical effect. Lighting, they learned, was also essential to performers because it creates a mood based on the subject of the performance, and it aids performers in their act.
Students also went to the loading dock, and were able to see the equipment and work that goes into supplementing a performance. They were also able to learn about dressing rooms and props, and how vital it is for everything to be in its right place. Also backstage were ropes and weights used to hold the curtain and perform set changes.
Aside from the larger theater, students also visited the Samueli Theater, where more quiet and intimate musical performances are held, and the Renee and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall. They were able to see the structures of these theaters, such as the adjustable opening on walls to adjust the acoustics, and a massive organ which took a year to install, and the architecture of the building itself.
“It was incredible to just see it, and I could imagine the sweet, powerful sound the organ could make!” sophomore Abby To said.
After the tour was over, all of the tour guides and groups met in the organ room. As each tour guide gave their testimony of personal experience within the area of the arts, students realized that there was more to performing than what goes on onstage.
This field trip proved especially helpful to students who love the performing arts, but decided the onstage limelight was not for them.
Overall, the trip was well-received by the students and was a very unique and entertaining experience.