7-Minute Productions

In the Spring, 2003 my son's room mother asked me to help with his 2nd grade spring musical performance. I told her I didn't know what I would come up with, but I certainly knew what I wouldn't do. There wouldn't be silly dances stuck to even sillier songs.

Thus by accident, 7-Minute Productions was born. I started with the idea that there must be an educational component, there should be at least some classical music, and there should be several scenes where small groups of children could be featured for 30-40 seconds rather than one 3-4 minute tune with impossible choreography performed by piles of children theoretically at the same time.

Thus began what will eventually I hope become something of a business venture. My first production was titled 2A Travels the Eurorail. There were 30 children involved. About 5 of them were trains that went back and forth across the stage between scenes as we "traveled the Eurorail" from country to country. Before it was over the class ventured past Italian dancing girls, a couple at a French café, Hungary boys dancing, and a bullfight in Spain - all in about 6 minutes. They learned about the Eurorail, and the musical/cultural styles of 4 different countries. We were a real hit. Some of the music I took off CDS, but I composed the train music and played two countries on the piano. I burned the whole thing to a CD and off we went.

Of course since we were such a hit, then the "job" became mine whether I wanted it or not. And not only that, I suddenly found myself faced with the next year's Christmas production - now using the entire third grade class with 49 students.

Well, not one for small projects, we put on 7-Minute Nutcracker and thus 7-Minute Productions was born. I took a piano score of the Tchaikovsky orchestral version of the Nutcracker Suite and cut it to seven minutes. But the amazing thing was that we actually managed to show all the important sequences. The opening scene took all of 1' 40'' and included guests arriving, Drosselmeyer giving the doll to Clara, Fritz breaking it, Fritz being chased around and off stage, and Clara being comforted and put to bed. We had the mouse fight, the Mouse King got whacked and dragged off stage. The dancers came and went in about 30 seconds each. The finale doubled up into the Waltz of the Flowers and by the end all 49 children were on stage swaying back and forth to the music.

My most recent adventure was called Salute to the Movie Western since the theme of this year's fair was about movies. They crossed the prairie, corralled cattle, had a shoot out using music from Copland's Billy the Kid, and square danced to Hoedown.

I started looking through the internet and saw that music educators don't have very many materials similar to this available to them. There seems to be a void in interesting, classically based short productions available for educational use. So at that point the wheels started to churn that maybe I had hit on something. I am hoping to put the Nutcracker up for sale first since I wouldn't need copyright releases, etc. I plan to make a professional CD and will package it for sale along with simple choreography and costume suggestions.

If you have ideas or want some from me feel free to contact me.