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Shining a Light on . . . Thalina Marques and Chiquita Paulson

Shining a Light on . . . Thalina Marques and Chiquita Paulson

Mrs. Paulson and Mrs. Marques with the cast of the upcoming musical Mary Poppins, Jr.

20 Mar, 2024

Shining a Light on . . . Thalina Marques and Chiquita Paulson

In addition to leading their regular classes, the dynamic duo of our Lower School Performing Arts department Thalina Marques (grades PK2-3) and Chiquita Paulson (grades 4-8) also co-direct the 4th-6th grade students who sing in weekly mass and the 4th-8th graders who perform in after-school musicals. 

They are currently hard at work running practices for the upcoming Lower School Spring Musical, Mary Poppins, Jr., which will run April 11-12. We thought this would be a great time to get to know these two teachers a little better and learn more about the upcoming show.

How many years have you been teaching? How many years have you been an educator at SAA-SDS?

Mrs. Paulson: I started in October 1980 as a replacement music teacher at St Ann in Bartlett. I thought it would be a temporary position on the way to becoming a choir director in a church. My plans changed after I discovered how much I loved working in a school setting! This year marks my 7th year at SAA-SDS.

Ms. Marques: Before teaching at SAA-SDS, I taught creative movement, swimming, and private voice, as well as leading children’s, youth, and adult choirs and handbells. In 1997, I began my journey here with SDS Music and Junior High Performing Arts; then ECC and SAA classes were added to my responsibilities. I have now been here for 26 years!

Why did you want to become a teacher?   

Mrs. Paulson: Being the oldest of seven girls, I think it came to me naturally. Our home was filled with instruments, singing, dancing, and watching musicals. I've always known I wanted to share that love with others.

Ms. Marques: Teaching uses the gifts and talents I was born with and developed through my early years, and God has consistently guided and directed me to teaching opportunities.   

What do you enjoy most about your job?

Mrs. Paulson: I am lucky to be at a school that has a long tradition of allowing students to actively participate in their learning. I have the resources that allow my classes to make music as they are learning the rudiments. I love watching the joy that participating in the arts brings to my students.   

Ms. Marques: I am blessed to watch young people from age 2 develop into young teens. I help them explore and develop the gifts and talents they’ve been given. The students’ active participation in Mass and working with the volunteers who sing in the choir for Mass fills me with gratitude for being able to share my skills and faith. The students who participate in the after-school musicals highlight their growth; I share their love of performance.    

What are your goals for our performing arts program?

Mrs. Paulson: My goal is for my students to be able to leave my classroom with the knowledge they need to make music, learn a new instrument, or have the confidence to audition for a play. Even if they don't participate in performance, I hope they will have an appreciation of the art forms we've studied. The arts need informed consumers as well as participants.

Ms. Marques: My goal is to provide multiple opportunities for students to experience and grow in confidence as well as skills.  I want to guide them in developing their singing voices, their inner rhythms, and their understanding of the many aspects of the Performing Arts.  I want them to learn the creative process and explore the possibilities!   

What are your hobbies/interests outside of the classroom? 

Mrs. Paulson: Outside of school I love to travel with my family, read, and work in my flower beds. I also direct an adult handbell choir for my church. I'm very excited to be waiting for my first grandchild's birth in August! God is good.

Ms. Marques: Well, I have two granddaughters! Time with my family is so precious!  I enjoy cooking, swimming, and reading, too. 

And about that upcoming Spring Musical . . .

Mrs. Paulson: I am happy to say we have grown the lower school musical to a joyous group of 40 performers and 5 crew members. Many of our cast have worked with us from their first audition in fourth grade. It is wonderful to have those seasoned performers welcome the new members. That camaraderie is what is special about working together on a show!

Mary Poppins is so fun because of the wonderful music! All of us that remember Mary Poppins as a child will find that the music still has a special charm for this cast. It has definitely stood the test of time! It will make your feet move and your heart sing!   

Mrs. Marques: The cast this year is so talented! We have been rehearsing since early January.  Some students are in a lead or supporting role for the first time. This production is based on the Broadway show.  In addition to the characters, we all know from the 1964 classic movie, there are statues that come to life, honeybees, busy bank clerks, buskers, Magical Mrs. Corry, and more! You don’t want to miss it!

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