By Theresa Harrington
A very special production of “Mamma Mia,” featuring the music of Abba, will be performed Friday by students in the Mt. Diablo school district’s adult education Life Skills program.
From 1-3 p.m., 17 students will act, sing and dance on stage in a production they’ve been rehearsing all year as part of the program for adults with developmental disabilities. Tickets will be on sale for a suggested donation of $2, with all proceeds benefitting the program.
“Many of the students have limited reading and verbal skills, so it’s taken lots of one-on-one coaching,” said Karen Lingenfelter, lead instructor. “You can imagine how hard it would be to learn lines if you can’t read them.”
The performance will take place in the multiuse room at the Loma Vista Adult Center, 1266 San Carlos Ave. in Concord. Lingenfelter said it helps build self-esteem in students, who are learning independent living and vocational skills so they can live on their own, work and participate in their community.
“This is the highlight of their school year,” Lingenfelter told me. “We had dress rehearsal today with sound and costumes and it was really exciting.”
The cast includes 17 students ranging from age 22 to 40. They have painted the sets and created their own costumes, in addition to learning their lines, Lingenfelter said.
“It’s really been a hands-on play in terms of the students doing a lot of the work,” she said. “It’s wonderful. We’ve found with students with speech impediments, when they sing, they have less of an impediment.”
Students have helped each other to learn lines and developed a strong sense of teamwork, she said. This is very apparent in the finale, she said, when students are on stage together singing “Dancing Queen.”
“It’s been absolutely wonderful in all aspects of learning,” Lingenfelter said. “They just feel such a sense of accomplishment.”
Parents have started a booster club to help keep the program afloat, as budget cuts have hit the district, she said. They’ll sell refreshments at the show.
For more information, contact Lingenfelter at 925-685-7340 ext. #2785 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Theresa Harrington