Fall concert at Olympus Jr. High involves 150 students in performing arts
Oct 24, 2019 02:04PM
● By Heather Lawrence
The Olympus Jr. High combined choirs concert was Oct. 9. The Dance Company also performed. (Heather Lawrence/City Journals)
By Heather Lawrence | [email protected]
Olympus Jr. High presented their fall choir and dance concert on Oct. 9. The choirs and dance classes are directed by Jayne Springman. The concert featured over 150 students and was themed “My Favorite Things.”
“Choir has turned out to be one of my daughter’s favorite classes. Over the summer she thought about dropping it for another elective, but I told her to stick with it. I’m glad she did,” said Ava Jacklin. Jacklin’s daughter Esther is in ninth grade and had a solo in the final song “Circle of Life.”
The program switched back and forth between choral and dance numbers. It started with all choirs combined singing the school song, “The Star Spangled Banner,” and the Beatles song “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da.” Choir members wore coordinated outfits with the girls in blue dresses and the boys in black dress pants and shirts with a blue tie.
“I started having the choirs wear outfits when I started teaching here 10 years ago. I keep the same dress so we can pass them down from sibling to sibling, and neighbors also share. [Several] students donate [their outfit and] let students borrow for the year,” Springman said about having the choir dress in coordinated outfits, which is typical in high school, but not junior high.
The dance company’s first number was a lyrical dance to the song “Smile.” The group was made up of nearly 30 girls in flowing costumes. Later they changed to black sweats and danced to Will Smith’s “Friend Like Me” from the new “Aladdin” movie.
The Dance I class came out in bright blue and pink flapper outfits. The class had over 20 girls performing and danced to a song from the musical “Thoroughly Modern Millie.” It was a joyful match of music, costumes and movement.
One of the school’s favorite things might be the new “Aladdin” movie; the vocal ensemble performed another song from the movie, “Speechless.” In the small group of 11 singers, seven took turns at the microphone to sing solos. “I used the girls from my vocal ensemble class for solos because they are eighth and ninth graders, and it gives them a great opportunity to perform and build confidence.”
The piano accompanist for all the musical numbers was Christy Olsen, “a retired teacher and a good friend of mine,” Springman said. In addition, several songs used percussion, which was played by Karel McDonogh. “My friend Karel is also a retired teacher whom I taught with at Brockbank Jr. High,” Springman said.
One of the most impressive things about Olympus Jr.’s choral program was how many male students were involved: 48. The male chorus sang “Rocky Top,” which had excellent violin accompaniment by Claire and Kate Mayfield. Near the end of the bluegrass standard, several boys jumped out to kick up their heels and get some laughs from the audience.
Springman had all the girls from the choirs combine to perform “My Favorite Things” from “The Sound of Music.” This and several other numbers used some choreography. “All the students love to do the choreography. [It’s] a good experience if they want to go on to show choirs in high school or college,” Springman said.
The performance, which filled the auditorium with supporters, ended with two songs by the combined choirs: the ’80s pop song “We Built This City,” and “The Circle of Life” from “The Lion King.”
Esther had one of the solos in “The Circle of Life” along with Grace Warner. Esther said Springman is “an amazing teacher. She can be strict, but it helps us.” Esther said she had to audition for her solo, and it was very nerve-wracking, but she loves choir and will definitely do it in high school.
Esther’s mom was pleasantly surprised to see her daughter perform the solo in front of a 100+ student choir. “She told me she had a solo, but I didn’t know which song it was on until I got here. She did a great job, and I think it’s a great opportunity for these kids,” Jacklin said.