Whidbey News-Times


Oak Harbor High School students help fifth-graders put on a pirate musical that’s history in the making

Whidbey News-Times Staff reporter
February 8, 2013 · Updated 3:03 PM

Broad View Elementary School students put on a musical with the help of high school students. At center is Niyah Reid as the main character, a stowaway, with fellow stars Sam Gibbon, Ethan Meissner, Andrew Lof and Gillian Guerra. / Joyce Swanson photo

With the help of pirates, students at Oak Harbor High School and Broad View Elementary School forged a dramatic relationship. Together, they put on a musical last week to the excitement of friends and family.

“Pirates: The Musical” featured more than 100 fifth-grade students performing on the high school stage. Fifth-grader Niyah Reid played the main part in the musical, which featured just one adult: Oak Harbor School District Assistant Superintendent Lance Gibbon, who shared his singing talent.

The musical tells the story of a young stowaway, played by Reid, who wants to become a pirate. Packed with singing competitions and laughs, the play was fun for all the students, said Renee Hall, Broad View Elementary School music teacher.

When she first had the idea for a musical, Hall called Charles Smothermon, high school teacher and coach for the Oak Harbor High School Drama Club, to ask if his students would be willing to help. To her surprise, the high schoolers had discussed how to get involved with younger students at a meeting before she called.

“Before I’d even asked, they had the idea in their head to help elementary students,” Hall said. “It’s history in the making. Elementary schoolers have never put a musical on the new stage (at the high school).”

Superintendent Rick Schulte wanted the younger kids to have the experience of performing on a real stage, Hall said. It hasn’t been without its hurdles, though, with scheduling dates and getting the kids to the high school.

To begin the process, 16 high school students came to Broad View Elementary to divvy up the tasks.

“They’re spending their own time. It’s not during school, it’s after school. It’s pretty cool they’re willing to do that,” Hall said.

Together, high school students and about 120 fifth-graders worked on creating costumes and sets, as well as learning lines.

“They all have to work together to put on the show,” Hall said. From the experience the students have learned, “Teamwork. Hard work. They have to multi-task … and just a love for drama and music put together,” Hall said.

“It’s been a real rewarding experience, challenging and very fun,” said Hailey Pearce, president of the OHHS Drama Club. “The Broad View kids are very excited to be able to put on such a performance and we’re all so happy to see it.”

“I’m hoping that they like this so much they’ll join art,” Hall said of the fifth-graders, adding that she hopes the students take part in everything from dance to band to art. “That’s what we need, a colorful world like that. That helps them shine.”

It wouldn’t have been possible without help from the community, Hall said. Walmart donated $50 for costumes and makeup and staff helped with costumes and set. Nicolette Harrington, Broad View art teacher, contributed tremendously, Hall said.

“She has been instrumental in getting all the props painted, the backdrops. It was really cool to work with the art teacher on this,” Hall said.

“This stuff is really fun. The kids have had a wonderful time,” she added.


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