Glee club helps Israeli kids improve their English
The English on Stage helps 12-year-old Shahar Moshe, who loves singing, master her English.
Glee Plus competition 2012. Photo: Courtesy Rachel Brink
A year ago, 12-year-old Shahar Moshe knew some English from what was taught to
her at school, but she never actually dared speak it.
Today, she is in an
English speakers’ class and masters the language as though it was her mother
Her drastic improvement, Moshe explained, is due to her love of
singing, which lead her to enroll in a special extracurricular program, the
English on Stage workshops.
English on Stage, established in 2005 by
professional actress Meirav Zur, started as a traveling theater with its own
Born and raised in the United States, Zur studied theater
and education at Georgia State University and came to Israel to serve in the
Soon after starting the successful English on Stage, she decided to
open drama, singing and dancing workshops.
Yet, something was still
“In high school in America, we had show choirs, where people
sing and dance, and I thought: Why don’t we have that in Israel? So I decided to
start Glee Plus, where kids sing, dance and act, entirely in English,” Zur told
The Jerusalem Post on Thursday.
Inspired by the popular Fox television
show Glee, the Glee Plus workshops became so popular that Zur decided to take
the idea to the next level and established a national show choir competition
which made its debut last spring.
Moshe took part in the first contest
where she performed the song “Crazy,” by the band Simple Plan, along with her
Although they placed last, Moshe said she enjoyed the
process of preparing for the competition.
“It doesn’t really matter that
we didn’t win,” she said, “it was really fun to do.”
Zur explained that
while she helps them perfect their acts, participants have complete creative
“I want them to go through whole process of production, creating
something from zero, where they control every aspect of the performance and make
it happen,” Zur explained.
“That way, they have to do good team work and
accept everybody in the group, because they all want to do well. They must work
together towards a common goal.”
As far as English is concerned, the
competition and workshops are open to both English speakers and kids who have
never spoken English before.
“They don’t need to have perfect English,
but they do need to love the stage and being in front of an audience,” she
Zur said she has seen her students make significant improvements
after participating in the workshops, and the competition.
“It’s not just
that they learn words in English, it’s the self-confidence that they develop
that is most important. They are confident that they speak English, and
they have no choice but to use it because everything at the workshop happens in
English,” she said.
“Now they understand the importance of pronunciation,
which is not something you learn in books or exams. They do everything
and more than what they are tested on in school,” Zur continued.
national Glee Plus competition, open to teams of children between the ages of
eight and 15 from across the country, will take place in May at the
Bimatron-Mofet theater in Hod Hasharon. A panel of four performing arts
professionals will be judging the productions and attributing prizes. This year,
first place winners will earn a professional studio recording session.
date, six teams have already signed up to compete, but Zur hopes to attract more
contenders by the time applications close on February 1.