First grade musical Thanksgiving show backdrop
Are any of you in a position to put on the same show year after year? Are you at the point when you decide you don’t want to head up the parent backdrop committee every 2 years to redo the same thing? When I was interviewed for the music position at my current school, I was told by the principal that The Turkey Show was an annual tradition that was nonnegotiable as a performance option. I had never put on the same show year after year, but by the time I took down the backdrop for the 2nd year, I realized I wanted a backdrop that would last me until I retired!
Starting with the old
Now the backdrop that had been made by parents looked absolutely great behind the students.
But it was made of butcher paper that doesn’t last year after year. So I just decided to recreate it in fabric. I had a coworker, who also sewed, help me determine the amount of fabric needed for it, and I submitted my request to have the material purchased out of my school budget. I had great plans to get the whole thing sewn before the end of the school year. That way I could fully enjoy my summer (meaning focus more on my Kodaly level.) But that didn’t work out very well. Imminent deadlines seem to work better for me, which means not only did I not work on it much in May, I managed to put it off the whole summer. So last fall, I had this huge project hanging over my head. Using the paper background was no longer an option, so I had to forge ahead and be quick!
At first I had laid the paper background out on the gym floor to get the full measurements. Then I laid out the fabric in my music room and cut out the main back drop piece using the paper version as a pattern. After the several month hiatus and back to getting serious again,
Turkey show background comes home
I did the rest at home. I measured all the other pieces and cut them out. I worked from the back to the front.
I chose to use felt for the straw and have it attached with Velcro so that it could be stored separately from the main part to avoid getting flattened or folded in undesirable ways. The beak is also detachable and made of felt.
I cut out the sign in felt, but to get a font I liked, I chose to use printable iron on and printed out HELP! on 2 different sheets. You can’t see the cut between the letters from the audience.
The only change I made from the paper version to the fabric one was that I added some different color feathers to his foot. I know turkeys don’t have feathers on their feet but I liked the pop of color. And no one commented on that faux pas.
To hang the backdrop, I added pockets all along the top of the backdrop to attach the PVC framework.
I used a simple straight stitch for all the sewing. Once I got started, I made pretty decent progress. Yes, it would’ve made a better summer project, but as I said, I work better under deadlines and I was able to finish it without any sleepless nights.
I held my breath to see if it would hang correctly once up on the PVC pipes. I was greatly relieved when it looked like this:
I will say that most music teachers don’t drag out their sewing machines and recreate a background like this, but the time I will save taping up ripped paper and remaking the whole thing time and time again is well worth it. And I do think it looks nicer too. Currently it is safely rolled up in a dresser waiting to be taken out in 2 ½ weeks for its 2nd annual debut. The peace of mind is totally worth it!
P.S. It looks even better with adorable first graders standing under it!