‘White Christmas’ is a hit at GCHS

By Anthony Militano • The Times-Independent

Last week local student Jamie Day had the lead role as “Betty” in three performances of Irving Berlin’s White Christmas at Grand County High School. Times-Independent readers may know Day; she is a Senior and she was a Lady Red Devil tennis player. She is a good tennis player–with quite a wicked serve. Who knew she could sing? Jamie’s father knew she had a beautiful voice.

The Times-Independent spoke to Joseph Day the night of the technical rehearsal and in a recent interview. “White Christmas is a movie my kids grew up watching. You could say it’s our favorite. There are so many good things in the movie…the patriotism…and it puts you in the holiday mood,” Day remarked.

According to Mr. Day, Jamie has been a secret performer her entire life and she is a fan of old-time acts like Dean Martin. Last week was Jamie’s first full-length theatrical debut. Her very first public performance was at the top of the month; on Nov. 2, Jamie sang the national anthem at the aquatic center in Moab to kick off the swim team’s season. Jamie’s older siblings Austin and Sarah came from Arizona to see her.

“Jamie loved the part in White Christmas. She loved to belt it out in front of an audience and not just around the house or in the shower,” Mr. Day said.

The Times-Independent asked the senior Day if Jamie had considered a career in the performing arts. He smiled politely and said: “We don’t know…Jamie was happy she got the lead and people like her acting and singing…we don’t know yet…”

Those lucky enough to catch one of performances last week got a treat and they may have seen the start of something big. If you have talent, even hidden talent, you have to share it.

Little things make a play come together. Students designed the promotional posters. Senior Jarom Shumway designed the programs. According to the tap dance coordinator Raelynn Mason, there were four choreographers who worked on the play, because White Christmas is complex. There are song scenes, dance scenes, song-and-dance scenes, and a tap dance scene. There are a lot of costume changes, and costume design sets the mood of the play. Mason had special praise for the two seamstress volunteers who worked up to the last minute sewing, ironing and primping the costumes.

Five questions for tap teacher Raelynn Mason

Raelynn Mason is a dancer and choreographer. She recently spoke to The Times-Independent and explained what it took to prepare the cast of Grand County High drama students for Irving Berlin’s, “I Love a Piano.”

The Times-Independent: Do you have a performing arts background?

Mason: “I have danced since I was three. I took most of my dancing here, at the high school, besides doing drill team. I took dance classes outside of school … private classes with a lady who still lives here and it’s actually kind of funny because she has two of her granddaughters in this production. And so it’s kind of come full circle for me. I danced in college a little bit and I’ve owned a dance studio in town for almost 10 years.

“It has been a part of my world as the drill team advisor for three years. It’s been a part of my life since I was little, little, little. I’ve always been head coach, dance instructor, dance mom, dance teacher.”

The Times-Independent: Were you showing students who had no idea how to tap – how to tap?

Mason: “Maybe two of them had tap dancing or clogging experience, the rest are brand new, clean slate – amateurs – beginners.”

The Times-Independent: “Were they all enthusiastic about learning?”

Mason: “Yeah, they have all been enthusiastic about it and very willing to participate and learn something new. It’s been fun.”

The Times-Independent: Did it cross all lines? Did you have five girls and five boys?

Mason: “My production has 13 girls; the leads are Trayken and Auburn … so I only have one boy that does my number, Trayken Robertson.”

The Times-Independent: Are there any additional comments you have about the production?

Mason: “It’s a great privilege to be involved and see the talents of these young students, who I see on a totally different daily basis being in the counseling office, making their schedule … to turn around and become a whole new character in this production. They do multiple scenes. It’s a small cast. Not only the ones you see on the set, but behind the set, for sound, lighting, all of the different scenery and making the whole production work.”