By Herald on September 8, 2020.
In a time of pandemic, G.S. Lakie Middle School has managed to put a musical spin on it.
With students returning to class last week amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the school on the westside kept things light with a bit of song parody fun.
In keeping with G.S. Lakie’s philosophy of Be There, Play, Choose Your Attitude, Make Their Day, the staff teamed up for a foot-stomping version of Billy Ray Cyrus’ Achy Breaky Heart, retitled The COVID Shuffle.
“Our vice principal (Raj Mathur) sent out a forward of another group of teachers who did a parody to a Backstreet Boys song and that got us all laughing,” said Kristi Legge, performing arts teacher at G.S. Lakie Middle School who also produced the video. “We said we should do something like that. So we were contemplating doing another version of that. Then Raj rewrote the words to Achy Breaky Heart. We were just kind of making it up as we went along.”
The two-minute, 16-second video boasts the vocal stylings of new G.S. Lakie principal Brad Dersch, Mathur and teacher Sheldon Arvay. It also showcases the staff’s fine line-dancing skills and even busts out a rap from teacher Nick Rickards, complete with lyrics stressing the importance of COVID-19 back-to-school safety protocols. (“Don’t break my heart. Stay six feet apart. We just have to give each other space.”)
Rickards, a language arts teacher at G.S. Lakie who contributed to the lyrical remake alongside Mathur, does a hip-hop unit with his students, said Legge.
“So I thought it would be fun for him to add a little bit of swag to the piece at the end. We had a little line-dance party with the staff in between meetings and we met with the Grade 6 team and did a little hip-hop dance with them on a separate day because they were busy with the kids.
“We tried to incorporate as many staff as possible. Our school philosophy is Be There, Play, Choose Your Attitude, Make Their Day. It goes hand-in-hand with what we believe in at our school.”
The video made its debut Friday, much to the delight of the students, and is featured on the school’s Facebook page.
“The whole school got to watch it,” said Legge. “I think they got a kick out of it, especially our brand new acting principal. We totally put him on the spot. He had no practice or anything.”
In fact, Legge recruited the principal for his part while he was in a meeting with Lethbridge School Division superintendent Cheryl Gilmore.
“I went in there and pulled him out and told him we need a quick video of him and we need him to sing for us,” said Legge. “Brad had no warning, so I think he got a kick out of it. He was a good sport. He sings the second verse in the video and there’s a real cheesy closeup of him.”
Gilmore also makes an appearance in the video, demonstrating her cowbell prowess.
As for Dersch, does G.S. Lakie’s principal have a budding career as a vocalist?
“I think he shouldn’t quit his day job,” said Legge with a laugh. “But he was a good sport. Our vice principal had a real low voice and he sounded pretty good.”
Arvay, who takes over the third verse complete with a guitar cameo outside the school, lent his production expertise to the video.
“He teaches a Rock And Guitar program at our school and he nailed it,” said Legge. “He mixed it all together. He has all the software to do that. He added a little reverb to some of the voices and made it sound pretty cool.”
Legge said she would like to get the students involved in future projects.
“I think that’s going to be the theme of the year, we want to make a bunch of music videos during the kids activity option and incorporate some special effects,” she said.
“We normally do big shows every year. I’m not able to do my program anymore but I have some activity classes within the cohorts. Some kids are not into dancing but I thought maybe they could help with some of the special effects and some of the video and the costuming. Hopefully that’s something we can pull off.”
Follow @DWoodardHerald on Twitter
Check out the music video here: https://youtu.be/jkXA00ItFOs