May Day, in some traditions, means an annual spring dance around a maypole.
In Schenectady, May days in 1969 meant women from the moon; an awesome award; parents, teachers and students in performance; and high school memories in one big book.
The moon women might have been the most intriguing group. Americans were space happy during the late 1960s, with every manned Apollo space mission making big news in newspapers and on television.
The Mini-Opera Group of Schenectady’s Etude Club decided to cash in on the cosmic popularity by performing “Moon-Trip Trip” at several schools in the Capital Region. The show was an updated version of an opera written by Franz Joseph Haydn titled “A Trip to the Moon.”
Performers used imagination to design gowns and headgear that moon residents might have been wearing in May 1969, shortly before Neil Armstrong and the crew of Apollo 11 made their famous landing in July. The show also was performed in Niskayuna, Guilderland, Burnt Hills, Ballston Spa and Colonie schools.
The play wasn’t all about star-trekking. Members of the troupe always advised schools they might consider introducing Haydn and astronomy to students attending the “Moon” production.
Members of Schenectady’s 18-Plus Ski Club were not thinking about lunar mountains; they knew snow-covered mountains on Earth were still seven months away. If the skiers had to wait, they could at least take comfort in the Ed Belcher Trophy — which the club had earned as the “most outstanding club” in the New York State Capital District Ski Council.
May has always been a prime-time month for high school plays, but teens weren’t the only ones having fun on stage. The Euclid School Parent-Teacher Association presented its annual variety show on May 9. Singing teachers — and parents in some odd costumes — were all part of the fun.
Kids also got into the act, as stars from Steinmetz Junior High School also were on stage.
Teens at Linton High School didn’t have to worry about the “September” of their years, as Sinatra often lamented in song. The “May” of their yearbook meant photos of freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors on the court and in the classroom. The young people who put together the book, including Ana Maria Marioni and Janis Kelleher, celebrated publication with school officials during a banquet at Ferro’s Restaurant.