June 15th, 2024

Live musical to jumpstart season at St. Francis


By Alejandra Pulido-Guzman - Lethbridge Herald on March 22, 2022.

Herald photo by Alejandra Pulido-Guzman St. Francis Junior High School performing arts students run through a scene of their upcoming "Beauty and the Beast Jr" during a media call earlier this month at the school's canteen.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDapulido@lethbridgeherald.com

Performing Arts students at St. Francis Junior High School will be showcasing their latest performance ‘Beauty and The Beast Jr.’ from Mar. 25 – 29.
Musical director Chris Hartman said St. Francis Junior High School has a proud history of musical theatre going back approximately 20 years. He said he has enjoyed working with director Dino Caputo and stage manager Kristen Mazucca for the last seven years.
“Working together with people that you like to work together with gives us lots of energy to do this and we certainly feed off the energy of the kids,” said Hartman.
He said they started the process of putting the musical together in September and they were not sure how many students would show up due to the uncertainty from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“There’s probably about 100 kids that showed up and it’s just like they were just waiting to get going again,” said Hartman.
He said the students know the process, they know what is expected of them.
“We did a lot of rehearsing with masks on, we didn’t get one complaint from the kids. They’re just professional from the get-go for a bunch of junior high kids,” said Hartman.
Mazucca said the musical incorporates all of the different fine arts which is a great opportunity for students to experience dance, acting and singing all in one.
“It’s a nice way for the students even if they don’t think that they’re dancers to experience dance, or if they don’t think that they might be a singer for them to get involved in the different types of fine arts,” said Mazucca.
She said it is also very exciting for the students to experience a live audience once again and get the feedback and recognition while performing, especially since most of the students are doing it for the first time.
“All of our kids are basically starting fresh, they’ve never done it before. So, it’s teaching them the whole process of what it’s like to be on stage, what it’s like to do many shows,” said Mazucca.
Nathaniel Packham who plays Gaston in Beauty and the Beast Jr. said he is very excited to be able to take part in the musical, especially because he is in Grade 9 and it is his last year at the school.
“It’s really cool and really humbling that I got the opportunity to do this… it’s nice to have a good send-off,” said Packham.
He added that the performance has helped him come out of his shell, which will be beneficial for him in his future enrolment in high school.
John Van Uden who plays the Beast, who is also in Grade 9, said he feels the pressure of playing a main character as his last performance and the first one in front of a live audience but he is excited to be able to be part of the experience.
“I am looking forward to doing this and when people come after and they see how happy they are, the feeling that everyone gets knowing that I was a part of that, I was part of making people happy,” said Van Uden.
Mazucca said unlike other schools that go to the Yates to perform their shows, they are running their musical in-house.
“We actually transform our entire gym into a theatre, this is one thing that’s kind of different from other schools. Our whole gym shuts down for two weeks and we build an actual theatre inside of it, so we have staging and seats and everything gets built in there,” said Mazucca.
Students from different Holy Spirit Catholic School Division schools, including some of their rural schools, will have the opportunity to attend the matinee performances and for interested members of the community shows will take place during the following schedule:
Friday March 25 at 7:00 p.m.
Saturday March 26 at 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.
Sunday March 27 at 2:00 p.m.
Monday March 28 at 7:00 p.m.
Tuesday March 29 at 7:00 p.m.
Tickets are $15 and are available through Eventbrite on the St. Francis Junior High website https://sfjh.holyspirit.ab.ca/

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