You want me to do what?
Who researches, contacts, schedules, and pays for the majority of assemblies/performers that come to your school? At ours, this task has been mostly taken over by our Parent Teacher Group (PTG). It can be kind of stressful, right? You are in charge of arranging a performance for an ENTIRE school! What if they don’t show up? What if it isn’t any good. What if the kids hate it? What if the kids don’t behave well? What if you have absolutely NO idea what you are doing? Ever feel like that? I can relate, boy can I relate.
Last year I accepted the challenge of finding some new performers/assemblies to visit our school. It was selfish, really. I’m in love with the idea of having as many performances at school as possible (within reason & budget) and our PTG just wasn’t cutting it. It was no one’s fault, it was just one of those things that we didn’t specifically focus on. It slipped through the cracks. 🙁
That’s when I decided to take action and see what I could do. The problem was, I had no idea where to start. So, I went to the place that we all rely on to help us find our way – Google! 🙂
Thank you Dr. Google!
Thanks to Dr. Google and a few keywords, I happened upon a website for this guy: Chris McBrien – Magic Storyteller. You can check out his website here.
From the website, I found mountains of really helpful information. Like, he is close to my area. Check. He offers a large variety of themed performances. Check. He looks like a fun guy who would entertain kids. Check. His prices are reasonable. Check.
Because I literally had no idea what I was doing (did I mention that already?), I forwarded on the link to his website to a few of the teachers at school to see what they thought. Very shortly, they gave me the green light to check it out and make some plans.
Performances at school help us save time and money!
I don’t know what your PTG is like, but currently in mine, we really have a strong belief in promoting the arts and bringing quality, entertaining, educational, and culturally enriching experiences to our students. Sound good to you too? It isn’t always easy or financially feasible to plan field trips for hundreds of students. In my mind, if we can’t bring our students to the experience, why not bring the experience to our kids?
Let’s think of an assembly or fine arts performance a little bit like a stay-cation… I like that idea! You get most of the fun without having to do so much work AND it saves a lot of money!
Okay, so let’s get back to the Magic Storyteller!
Chris McBrien aka Magic Storyteller was very easy to work with. I was able to communicate with him via email, which is SUPER helpful for me. Even though I am at home a lot due to my SAHM status, it isn’t always an option for me to chat on the phone. My kids literally go berserk when I’m on the phone. If you are reading this and are also a parent, I know you get what I am saying.
Anyway, Chris was very professional and prompt with his communication. It made my “first-time booking a performer” experience much easier than I had anticipated. Thanks, Chris!
“This guy is fantastic”
Because I booked the event possibly 8 months in advance, those months were a long time to wait and my anxiety mounted as the date drew near! One (or more) of our board members has been trying to attend as many of our assemblies as possible so we have first-hand insight into how they pan out. I was really glad that at least one of “us” would be able to attend the show so that I would know right away if it was a bomb, or not! Remember, this was my first time scheduling a performance for the whole school and the responsibility was pretty nerve wracking.
While our PTG VP was at the show, I received this text from her, “How did we find out about this guy? He’s FANTASTIC!” Did you see that? All caps, FANTASTIC! Boy was I trilled to hear it! Phew!!!
When my daughter came home from school that day, all she could talk about was the “awesome” performer and the funny puppets he used. She specifically enjoyed the different puppet voices in the show.
Of course, the Magic Storyteller shared a valuable message and lesson he supported through jokes, puppetry, and more. We selected a character building theme that aligned with our behavior intervention plan at school, P.B.I.S. You might be familiar with this program. It was wonderful to be able to entertain our students while topics important to everyone at school were reinforced as well!
Apparently everyone enjoyed the performance so much that we discussed asking Chris McBrien to visit us again soon at the PTG business meeting the followed shortly after. The trouble is, there are so many relevant themes to chose from, which one do we try next?
Bigger kids too!
The Magic Storyteller isn’t just for little kids. He has such a large variety of themes that he also has programs geared to Middle Level/Junior High students as well. You can read for yourself what others have said about it right here.
The Magic Storyteller additionally has library programs that can be geared to kids, families, and more!
If your PTG/school is located in the Chicago-Land area, IA, IL, IN, MI, or WI, you should consider checking out The Magic Storyteller. Click here to find more information about his school performances. While reviewing Chris McBrien’s website, I found this intriguing kindness themed performance, called Kindness Challenge. The Student Council group at our school has planned a Random Acts of Kindness week for the near future, wouldn’t this assembly have been fun to coordinate with it?
I’d love to hear from you if you have seen one of Chris McBrien’s shows before and/or if you end up contacting him/booking a performance after reading about him here. I so enjoy having the opportunity to share our positive experience with all of you and would appreciate knowing that it helped you bring a positive message to your school!
Thanks for spending some time with me!