The Birds, Peter Pan Jr., a “Movie Star,” and Irish Dancing – All at St.Francis!

By Reed Gabhart, Head of the Goshen Campus

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday and memorable time with your families! Our Grandparents’ Day festivities and concert on the Goshen Campus were spectacular, and the musical theme of “1965” was a tremendous hit! (No pun intended.) Thanks to our wonderful music teachers Kim Aberle, Bob, Bertke and Faith Murphy for preparing our students so diligently and making it so fun!

As our thoughts turn to the upcoming Holiday Break (and sugarplums?), we have a couple of other new opportunities for students. December means it it is time for the SFS Drama Project’s spring play auditions! After the highbrow sophistication of The Importance of Being Earnest this fall, our spring production will decidedly be more slapstick and silly as we present one of  Aristophanes’ classic Greek comedies, The Birds. Lon Church will be directing this madcap comedy, with me in the sidecar along for the ride. Here is a project description of The Birds from Lon:

“Soon to swoop to the stage of St. Francis!

A raucous comedy by the famous Greek playwright Aristophanes (not to be confused with Hitchcock’s movie “The Birds”) finds two Athenians climbing to the mountaintops above their corrupted civilization in order to seek advice from the birds on where they might begin anew.  With the help of Epops, the king of the birds; Procne, his wife; and a colorful chorus of other birds, the group hatches a plan to form “Cloud Cuckooland,” where they can control the air between men and the gods. Of course, not all goes smoothly:  they must build their city among clouds, rebuff the various ascending rascals of society, and appease the angry gods who don’t want to pay tariffs for their mischievous trips to earth.  The cast includes lawyers and agents, prophets and poets from below, and Iris, Prometheus, Hercules, Neptune and the Barbarian God from above.  Messengers fly in, heralds proclaim, even prompters claw for their moment in the sun.  Love blossoms and bird bargains are born.  Mr. Church directs this production, with Mr. Gabhart’s collaboration, of course, and together they promise great fun, soaring choreography, and a “deus ex machina” finale!”

Sounds “all Greek” to me! Auditions for The Birds are Wednesday, December 9th after school from 3:45 – 5:30 p.m. and open to students in grades 5th – 8th. All the information the students need will be handed out at school this week.

At the same time, our 4th and 5th graders are beginning their winter production of the delightful musical Peter Pan Jr! Led by our version of Rodgers and Hammerstein, Dobring and Aberle, this feel-good production is open to ALL students in these grades (without auditions) and begins this Friday during projects. You will note the set pieces already adorning our stage. Please mark your calendar for Peter Pan Jr. just prior to Winter Break!

I also wanted to give out a shout-out to a couple of our students. Eston McLeroy recently had the remarkable experience of acting in a feature-length motion picture! During Thanksgiving break, Eston went to Atlanta for a day’s worth of shooting for the upcoming movie Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life. Based on a young adult book series by James Patterson, the movie is slated for release in October, and our very own Eston had a couple of lines, a stunt, and his own trailer and wardrobe! Eston said they shot for 10 hours and did his scene around 50 times! (That’s show biz!) Congratulations to Eston, our Hollywood star!

We also welcomed a new student to St. Francis this week, 7th grader Elijah Foye. And Elijah certainly has a unique distinction: He is a student of Irish Dance. Elijah recently participated in the Midwest Regionals for the discipline and qualified for the Dance Worlds in Glasgow, Scotland this March! Please welcome Elijah to St. Francis, and we hope to see him in this spring’s Student Council Middle School talent show!