Children Perform for Children at A Night to Remember
By Nicolette House
A unique ice show concept was introduced to audiences during A Night to Remember at the Hoffman Estates Park District. On December 15th, over fifty skaters and musicians came together to perform in a figure skating show set to live music.
“I wanted to create an event that would grow the appreciation for the arts through music and figure skating,” said Jennifer Dooley, figure skating director at the Hoffman Estates Park District.
Skaters of all levels partnered with competitive musicians to provide a night of entertainment for adoring parents and friends. Dooley wanted to give the Ice Academy of Hoffman Estates Park District the opportunity to perform in this type of show at the amateur level.
“I wanted to encourage them to pursue the arts. You only play music on stage when your highly acclaimed or when you win a national competition. In figure skating it’s the exhibition you do sometimes after you win. I wanted them to have the opportunity at the entry level,” says Dooley.
Dooley and competitive music teacher Brenda Huang spent months planning the show. Dooley offers music suggestions, but Huang makes the final decision where music is concerned. Dooley manages all aspects of the venue and on-ice portions of the event.
Unlike most of today’s ice shows, which feature popular music, A Night to Remember featured an array of strictly classical music.
The musicians played a mix of opera and holiday favorites. Audience members were treated to renditions of selections from The Nutcracker, Puccini operas, and holiday tunes such as Silent Night.
While all of these pieces of music are commonly used by figure skaters, there is something special about performing programs to live music. The acoustics in ice arenas give live music a crystal clear sound.
“Part of figure skating is skating to beautiful music. Hearing it live really makes everything sound so soulful,” expressed Dooley.
The Quest Academy Choir accompanied musicians and skaters for several pieces. One can only image how proud all parents were, watching their children perform a variety of art forms together.
A special treat awaited both skaters and musicians. Miss Chicago 2012, Marisa Buchheit lent her vocal talents to A Night to Remember. Her beautiful soprano voice complimented the skating performances perfectly.
Dooley hoped that everyone involved with A Night to Remember took away a newfound respect and appreciation for the arts. For children, Dooley’s message was especially clear.
“I hope they take away an appreciation for each other’s art form and talent and more people are inspired to take part in music and figure skating.”
Performances have great meaning to the children that participated.
“I hope the spectators will appreciate the hard work that went into the children learning their routines for music and figure skating,” says Dooley.