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A Tradition of Gilbert & Sullivan Operettas

The Mikado ... Iolanthe ... Pirates of Penzance ... Rudiggore ... and HMS Pinafore

These popular Gilbert and Sullivan operettas enjoyed broad and enduring success for close to 40 years when students from the Waldorf School of Garden City performed them for the school community.

One spring night way back in 1963, a group of parents, children and relatives crowded into the School’s auditorium. It was a packed-house. On stage, a group of 7th through 12th grade students waited in silence for the curtain to rise. Their lines were memorized. Their songs had been practiced. And they waited. In a few moments, the curtain would rise and they would perform one of Gilbert and Sullivan’s most famous operettas ... The Pirates of Penzance.

Under the direction of Mr. George V. Rose – who, by the way, had only been at the Waldorf School for a year – a beloved tradition of Gilbert and Sullivan operettas began. It was a tradition that lasted close to 40 years!

HMS Pinafore, Iolanthe, The Mikado, Pirates of Penzance, and Rudiggore. These were the operettas we performed.

Said Waldorf alumnus and communications director, Robert Ingenito, "When I was in the 3rd grade, I have this memory of Mrs. Resnick coming into our class and telling us the story of Iolanthe. I remember learning about Strephon, Iolanthe’s son. You see, he was 1/2 man and 1/2 fairy, which was very unfortunate. As a 1/2 fairy, he was only a fairy down to the waist! As children, we learned the stories to these operettas – but Mrs. Resnick never told us how the operettas finished. We had to convince our parents to bring us to school so that we could learn what happened in the performance. We watched – with awe-struck eyes from our little wooden chairs in audience – as characters like Iolanthe, Strephon, and Phyllis – all played by high school students – performed for us - with Mr. Rose directing and Mrs. Resnick at the piano.

As older students – we learned these same operettas and performed them on stage for our parents and – most importantly – for the next generation of students who were rising through the grades. It was so much fun!

Please enjoy this photo archive from past Gilbert and Sullivan Operettas:


Click these PDF documents to download a selection of songs (which Mr. Rose picked himself) from these five operettas:

On Saturday, October 20th in the High School Student Room, alumni took part in a special "Gilbert and Sullivan Operetta Sing-Along" with Waldorf’s former choral director, Mr. George V. Rose, and former lower school music teacher and piano accompanist, Mrs. Jeanette Resnick. In addition to reminiscing about these operettas and enjoying a photo slide show, attendees sang a selection of songs from H.M.S. Pinafore, Iolanthe, The Mikado, Pirates of Penzance, and Rudiggore.

(Photos by Jeanenne La Bella.)

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