Shipley’s Choice Students Take Audiences On “A Musical Road Trip”


Fourth- and fifth-graders sang their hearts out and danced the night away before a packed-out audience at opening night of Shipley’s Choice Elementary School’s (SCES) “Mini Rock & Roll Revival” on May 4. The show, which offered an encore presentation on May 5, featured nearly 100 talented young students in the cast and crew.

Themed “A Musical Road Trip,” the 13th-annual SCES production took audiences on a journey through time with popular hits from the 1930s through early 2000s. Students sang and danced to 20 classics including “ABC” by The Jackson 5, “Girls Just Want To Have Fun” by Cyndi Lauper, “Complicated” by Avril Lavigne, “Final Countdown” by Europe, “Surfin’ U.S.A.” by The Beach Boys and “Rocket Man” by Elton John.

SCES general music teacher and chorus director Caitlan Peachey has served as director for “Rock & Roll” for six years. She shared that students had rehearsed monthly for the big spring production since November.

“My favorite part of helping students was watching them grow and be able to be successful from the moment we started to (the) performance,” Peachey said of preparations for the big weekend. “Every number improved from our first rehearsal to the last performance, and I think the growth is such a cool thing to see.”

Among the young performers was fifth-grader Caroline Kingston, who sang in two songs and danced in three others. She shared that she was no stranger to performing onstage, as she has participated in the Chesapeake Ballet Company’s “The Nutcracker” and spring shows. She enjoyed being a part of “Rock & Roll” because almost all of her friends were in it, too.

Fourth-grader Nico Durastanti shined in the spotlight as well, as one of the lead singers for two songs and a background dancer for a few other numbers. He shared that he had enjoyed the dress rehearsals because they helped him get ready and they were a lot of fun.

“I’m most proud of the students for being flexible and creative with their numbers. A lot of the numbers had student input, so many of the things seen on the stage were student-driven,” Peachey said, praising the young cast and crew.

Behind the scenes, fourth- and fifth-graders also worked hard as crew members helping run technical aspects of the production such as lighting, sound, props and mics. Peachey shared that about 20 volunteers and parents were integral to the show’s success, aiding with choreography, costumes and production elements such as tickets and T-shirts. Other SCES staff who were heavily involved in bringing the production to life included fourth-grade teacher Rachel Hall, who did much of the choreography and helped with rehearsals, and art teacher Maggie Merow and media specialist Katie Ventrudo, who helped with the stage backdrops.

Proceeds from ticket and concession sales will benefit the school’s music department and will help “Rock & Roll” keep running year after year, Peachey said.


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