Bilingual performance of ‘The Nutcracker’ brings students across Illinois to Coronado

Published: Dec. 2, 2022 at 5:40 PM CST
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - Illinois students from grades K through 12 pack the Coronado Performing Arts Center on Friday for a day of Christmas cheer.

The Nutcracker by the legendary Pyotr Tchaikovsky has been synonymous with the holiday season since 1892. On Friday, Rockford Symphony Orchestra and Rockford Dance Company got a warmup for their Saturday show, in front of Stateline students, some of who have never seen live theatre before.

“You certainly can’t get this experience in a classroom, so coming to someplace like the Coronado Performing Arts Center, which is beautiful. They’re young, it’s their first time being in a special place like this,” said Julie Thomas, Executive Director of the Rockford Symphony Orchestra.

This is the first field trip performance for the Rockford Symphony Orchestra in three years, with more than 20 schools from across the Stateline filling the seats.

“They’re coming from Rockford, they’re coming from the surrounding region, we have schools from Durand, we have schools from Stockton, we have schools from Milledgeville, so they’ve all driven into the Coronado today to experience this together,” said Margo Stedman, the Orchestra’s Education and Community Engagement Director.

“We’re a small school in rural Illinois, and the chance for them to come in and see a ballet or parts of a ballet and experience the entire thing is really something that they don’t often get a chance to do,” Scott Mattison, a Chorus Director for Chadwick-Milledgeville Community Schools told 23 News.

This performance was particularly special because the curriculum guide and introduction before the performance was translated into Spanish.

Argentinian Choreographer Lucas Segovia knows how important this can be.

“For some of the people in this community, Spanish is their main and only language so it’s good for them to learn English, and the same is true for those that speak only English I think it’s a great approach,” he said.

You can see the symphony and dance company perform The Nutcracker at 3 p.m. on Saturday at the Coronado.

The curriculum was translated into Spanish by students and staff from Rockford University’s Spanish Department.