Setting elements in music

Earth, water, air and fire! Those are the elements Grade 11-12 Salmon Arm Secondary students will explore in their musical theatre

Collaboration: Members of Salmon Arm Secondary’s Musical Theatre class rehearse Periodically Entertaining

Earth, water, air and fire!

Those are the elements Grade 11-12 Salmon Arm Secondary students will explore in their musical theatre revue that takes place Wednesday, Dec. 9 to Friday, Dec. 11.

Called Periodically Entertaining, the show was initially going to be about water, but Brian Pratt-Johnson’s students suggested including all of the four elements.

The ancient Greeks believed there were four elements that everything was made up of: earth, water, air, and fire.

This theory was first suggested around 450 BC, and later supported and added to by philosopher Aristotle.

“We decided to have a couple of kids write a narrative to string it all together,” says Pratt-Johnson.

“There’s a modern scientist using the periodic table and an ancient scientist, it’s an ongoing thing between the ancient and contemporary.”

Pratt-Johnson is delighted the students have had “tons of input into the creative process” and have been furiously rehearsing.

“It’s coming together nicely,” he says enthusiastically. “I like it because it gives a lot of the creative control to the students; they’re getting to do the writing, arranging and choreography.”

A student band will perform and Just For Kicks owner and teacher Patty Fleming is choreographing the big ensemble numbers.

They include Gonna Build A Mountain, made famous by Sammy Davis Junior in the 1960s, Colours of the Wind from Disney’s Pocahontas, James Taylor’s Fire and Rain and a 1959 cover by Frankie Ford of Sea Cruise, originally written and sung by Huey “Piano” Smith and his Clowns.

“It’s neat to introduce kids to some of the old stuff,” says Pratt-Johnson.

There will also be contemporary numbers featuring a selection of video games the students are into – including a heavy metal one.

“They’re educating me too,” laughs Pratt-Johnson, his enthusiasm for the kids and the music apparent. “The reason I do this format is everybody gets exposure, rather than having three or four main characters and others standing around as trees.”

Adding numbers like the one about a heavy metal game shows the students it’s OK to take a risk and be crazy, he adds

“I see a lot of kids who think you have to be perfect, but it’s OK to make a mistake,” he says, noting mistakes often lead to future great successes. “I am having a blast with this group – they’re awesome kids.”

If you want to share in the joy, take $8 to the Sullivan campus office and get your ticket – or buy it at the door.

The show runs at 7 p.m. Dec. 9 to 11 in the Sullivan Campus Theatre. Doors open at 6:30.

 

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