Samantha Sova said she never got nervous during a performance. But, with the biggest one of her life approaching, the nerves set in the night before.
“I was in the middle of the high school concert and thought to myself, ‘Wow, in 12 hours I’ll be performing on Broadway,’” said Sova.
Sova was one of 11 students to perform in front of cast members and hundreds of other students before a matinee of Hamilton at the Richard Rodgers Theater in New York City on December 5.
80 WCHS juniors, as well as students from 18 other districts, saw Hamilton thanks to a grant from the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History for $10 per ticket – a nod to Alexander Hamilton’s presence on the $10 bill. The Windsor District paid that cost of admission for its students through an Arts in Education Grant.
“I am both humbled and honored to have been selected by Gilder Lehrman to offer this incredible opportunity to Windsor Students. For many students this was their first time in New York City and for most of them their first Broadway performance. This trip wouldn’t have been possible without the tremendous support from administration, transportation, food services, and my colleagues. It was a team effort,” said teacher Sarah Bidwell, who headed Windsor’s effort to obtain the grant.
In order to attend the performance all students had to submit an original performance piece as a project. They were required to research and use documents from the Gilder Lehrman archive. Sova submitted a video of her performing a song she wrote about the relationship between Alexander Hamilton and his nemesis, Aaron Burr, to the tune of the theme to the TV show, The Big Bang Theory.
Sova was the last of the 11 student performers to go on stage.
“It was incredible. I watched all those other performances, and then when I was walking on stage, the nerves just built and built. Once everyone started clapping and saying my name, it was all released,” said Sova.
“Samantha’s talent is undeniable and her performance was stunning. When she was singing on stage there was no question she belonged up there. The enthusiasm and love shown to her from both our community and the other schools in attendance brought tears to my eyes. It’s absolutely an experience I will never forget,” said Bidwell.
Sova may have captured her moment, but the afternoon belonged to all of the students who saw one of the most celebrated shows on Broadway.
“Hamilton offered us a tremendous opportunity to get students out of the classroom and witness our nation’s history beyond the documents. It brought the founding era to life and put the topics they learn in school in perspective. I’ll be forever grateful that we were able to participate in this program,” said Bidwell.
And in a day full of memorable moments for Sova, there was one more at the end.
“When we first got off the bus back in Windsor, my mom ran over and gave me the biggest hug I ever got in my life. It was a huge relief,” said Sova.