LETTER: Musical’s process important

I would like to thank Will Johnson for the photos and article of Rosemont elementary school’s musical, A Forest Palette.

Rosemont elementary school students will long remember the process of creating A Forest Palette

Re: “Forest fires, totem poles and Emily Carr”

I would first like to thank Will Johnson for the photos and story of the June 15 Rosemont Elementary School musical, A Forest Palette. Although he included the connection to Emily Carr, there is a much larger and more exciting story that readers of the Nelson Star may be interested in learning about. The performance was the culminating event in a multi month process, a process that involved the students and staff working and learning together. In the words of one grade four student, “This article just told about the play but it didn’t explain what we all did to get our parts ready.”

Early in January the staff was approached by musical director Kathleen Neudorf, composer Scott Godin, and myself (visual artist), with the idea of each teacher connecting something from their grade’s curriculum to a common “big idea” which we would then turn into a musical with the students. After some initial time to think about the proposal, each class began to examine their “connections to the forest” which became the overarching theme. Each class focused on researching and refining the information they would contribute to the musical.

The production team helped the teachers determine a musical focus for each class and time was spent with small groups to write the information they wanted to present into verse. Once the texts for the songs were written, Scott Godin helped the students set the words to music. This was an intense process over a week but in the end the children “owned” the songs.

Two classes created soundscapes to accompany either spoken word or dance. With the music written, we turned our focus to the visual arts and Emily Carr’s impressionistic forest paintings and the paintings she did to document the culture of the First Nations of BC’s west coast. The students painted their own impressions of the forest and one class made totem poles representing the individuality of the students that combined to make the class as a whole.

The final steps in the process involved tying all of these pieces together. There seemed to be a story being told, a story of the life of a forest from seed falling to the forest floor and growing into the trees surrounding the school, to trees being used by humans, the devastation of forest fire and the wonder of regrowth following. With all the beautiful art work the students had done, it was decided to have the audience feel as if they had entered an art gallery with each performance a new gallery.

The costumes were simple and made by the students if possible. They also made the props they might need as they sang their songs. The master of ceremony was Eric Brown, director of the National Art Gallery in Ottawa in 1926 as it was Eric Brown who persuaded Emily Carr to show her work to the world. And, finally, Emily Carr graced the stage to give us readings from her journal, inviting the audience into her world so long ago providing a connection between art, music and the forest.

The students showcased their learning and every parent, grandparent and teacher was full of pride when their child, grandchild or students took to the stage. And, today when we went back to the school the kids were still singing about the forest. It has been a process, not just an end product. This is learning that will live long within them for they have been the creators of it.

Heather Dean, Nelson

 

Just Posted

Little Wagon Theatre brings comedy to Nelson streets

There will be various performances of It’s Jest a Show throughout the weekend

Hometown gold for rowers at Nelson Regatta

Rosie Velisek and Jesse Harold won three golds Saturday

LETTER: Time to roll back power prices

FortisBC is overcharging customers, Andy Shadrack argues

Taekwondo is a family obsession at Nelson’s Yom Chi Martial Arts

The Jordahls have found success with their Baker Street dojang

Nelson city hall will fly Pride flag this year

Council will develop a policy for future flag decisions

B.C. wildfires 2018: Hazy skies impacting crews in spotting new fires

18,000 people are on an evacuation alert, with 3,000 homes under an evacuation order

B.C. program to educate parents reduces ‘shaken baby syndrome’ by 35%

Period of PURPLE Crying was launched nearly a decade ago

Red Cross now accepting donations for those impacted by B.C. wildfires

The Canadian Red Cross is asking for help now and in the weeks and months ahead.

B.C. golfer, just 23, scores the rare albatross

Six-million-to-one shot a first for the Terrace club

Fredericton widow swears at Trudeau during condolence call

Widow of man killed in Fredericton shooting says she swore at Trudeau during condolence call.

Tim Hortons promises leaky lids on coffee cups to be phased out

Tim Hortons looks to rebuild its brand with better lid, new marketing campaign

‘There’s been a lot of devastation:’ man whose family lost homes in B.C. fire

The provincial government declared a state of emergency Wednesday as more than 550 wildfires burn in every corner of B.C.

Capsized tug now out of the water at the mouth of B.C.’s Fraser River

The 19-metre-long George H. Ledcor capsized late Monday.

Aheadbyacentury looking for Triple Crown breakthrough in the Breeders’ Stakes

The consistent Aheadbyacentury has $513,800 in career earnings, including $311,250 this year thanks in large part to his Triple Crown performances.

Most Read