By Garrett Simmons
Lethbridge School Division
The history of music will be explored next week by students at Senator Joyce Fairbairn Middle School.
Audiences will not only get to enjoy hit songs throughout several decades but will also have an opportunity to tour Lethbridge School Division’s newest school during the Fairbairn Flashback Festival, set to hit the stage March 3-5.
The festival is a celebration of student creativity and commitment to excellence across a wide variety of artistic endeavours. Over 250 students and staff are involved.
Fairbairn teacher Kelsey Huculak said the concept behind the production showcase Fairbairn students and the facility itself.
“The idea was to create a fringe-festival style of performance that would allow the celebration of the greatest diversity of student creativity and talent,” she said. “In addition, we knew our facility provided a unique opportunity to showcase what our students can do.”
This year’s festival builds upon last’s year success, she added, and uses the theme of music through the decades to highlight a breadth of student talents.
“By using the whole school as the stage, we can celebrate and involve more students through art displays, student work displays, live artists creating during the actual performance and short, student-created skits in the transitions,” said Huculak.
Using the entire school provides access to multiple staging areas to help showcase different types of performers including actors, bands, choirs, singers, dancers and artists, as well as gymnasts.
Audiences will enter through the far west doors, where they will be able to purchase refreshments provided by students while they wait for the show to start. From there, the audience will travel to the atrium, where the story will begin with actors, dancers, singers and more.
“As the story moves along, so will the audience,” said Huculak, who added the crowd will transition from one collaboration area to the next, stopping at each one for the next scene. “The hallways between the main stages become artful transitions that help move the story along.”
Preparing for the show was no easy feat, according to Fairbairn teacher Rachelle Fairs.
“With over 250 student cast, crew and staff involved in each performance, plus a moving audience, logistics become a major challenge,” she said. “Every transition needs to be meticulously planned so that it appears to be a seamless integration with the story.”
Identifying and accessing adequate staging, sound equipment, lights, props and costumes was its own challenge, she added, along with planning and installing those components without hindering the daily activities of a busy school.
The basic premise of the show involves actors taking a class in music history and appreciation.
“They, taking the audience along with them, explore the hits of the decades through today’s various popular social media platforms,” said Fairs. “Much of the script and the various elements were student created and selected with guidance of the directors.”
The idea took root last spring, and the theme for the show was announced back in the fall with a staff flash dance mob to during an assembly. Prior to the Christmas break, students auditioned for various roles or volunteered to be crew.
Along the way, there were many lessons learned for students, according to Fairs.
“Every student has something to contribute and talent comes in many forms. It takes commitment to make something like this happen. People depend on you and you need to take responsibility for that. This kind of thing creates its own energy and it means something special to be a part of it. Look for these opportunities and get involved.”
Performances are set for March 3-5 at 4:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. each day.
Adult tickets (11 and up) are $10 Children (10 and under) are $2. Due to the nature of the performance, which has the audience moving throughout the school, audiences are capped at 120, and every audience member requires a ticket. Tickets are available on SchoolCashonline.com.
For more information, contact Rebecca Adamson at Senator Joyce Fairbairn Middle School (403-381-2977 or firstname.lastname@example.org.