HJ Cody students Maia Belich, Skyler Umlah, Abbey Endo and Aly Moxness pose with a prop from the high school’s upcoming musical, “Peace, Love and Music: A 1960s Music Revue.” The play runs from March 5-14. Photo Submitted

These Kids Were Made For Singin’ and That’s Just What They’ll Do!

HJ Cody prepares for its fall musical “Peace, Love and Music: A 1960s Music Revue”

Submitted by Samantha Mielke

The Drama and Music Departments at Ecole H.J. Cody High School are fast approaching the opening night of Peace, Love and Music: A 1960s Music Revue. For those unfamiliar with the term ‘revue’, this type of performance is a collection of songs, dances, scenes, and monologues for entertainment. The show focuses on the monumental 1960s, a decade which saw tremendous change through political, social and culture affairs of state in numerous countries. Many prominent movements of this time were the civil rights movement, anti-war movement, and feminist movement, providing a catalyst of progressive changes for citizens that still impact society today.

Casting for the production began in September and students, staff, parents and community members have been working hard on stage and behind the scenes to bring this vibrant production to life. The cast, technicians, and crew involved include students from Grades 9 – 12 with many enrolled in Advanced Acting. Students have also been working on their vocal skills, under the guidance of Kerry Heisler, to ensure they have the vocal capabilities to be able to present these shows for the public. “Students have been working very hard to accurately reflect the vocal sound of the 1960s with character voices and harmonies,” says Kerry Heisler.

Long time friend of Jacqui Renwick and Red Deer teacher, Trina Penner, along with H.J. Cody Grade 12 student Tatyanna Stoesz are the production’s choreographers. Stoesz reflects, “There was quite a bit of research that went into the choreography for the pieces that I had the pleasure of choreographing. The 1960’s dances that were popular back then are being brought back to life by the cast of the show. Everyone has put in so much hard work and effort to make it look authentic and I am confident to say that everyone, including myself, is excited for the great reveal of these dance and musical numbers.”

The show runs each weekend beginning on Thurs., March 5 until Sat., March 14 at the Stephenson Performing Arts Centre at Ecole H.J. Cody School in Sylvan Lake. Evening shows begin at 7 p.m. and Saturday afternoon shows begin at 1 p.m. Please see the ticket prices and dates below:

March 5 – 7 p.m.

March 6 – 7 p.m.

March 7 – 1 p.m. matinee

March 7 – 7 p.m.

March 12 – 7 p.m.

March 13 – 7 p.m

March 14 – 1 p.m. Relaxed Performance

March 14 – 7 p.m.

Ticket prices: $15/ticket for performances

$10/ticket for relaxed performance

A special opportunity and performance will be taking place on March 14, at 1 p.m. This will be H. J. Cody’s first relaxed performance. Relaxed performances aim to provide a comfortable and safe space for individuals to enjoy theatre who may benefit from a more relaxed sensory theater experience, including, but not limited to, those on the autism spectrum, with sensory and communication disorders, those with learning or cognitive disorders, or those with dementia. There is a more casual approach to theatre etiquette and all audience members are asked to be aware of people’s needs to move or make noise. The artistic excellence of the production and director’s vision remain unchanged.

This inclusive environment is targeted for those who may appreciate more lighting, quieter music, sensory toys, a quiet space outside the theatre to chill out in, and other adjustments to make the show more inclusive. This performance has been made possible from a generous grant from the RBC Future Launch Community Challenge which H.J. Cody’s project Art & Soul for Everyone was awarded in the fall.

Stoesz is also acting as project lead and said, “The grant the theatre department was given was something I had never seen before or dreamed of achieving. The application process was completed by drama teacher, Jacqui Renwick, along with a few students who hopped on board the moment we heard about this wonderful opportunity. The application process asked about the project, a detailed description of said project, who is leading the project, along with who is involved, and what part of the community would be targeted in the project. After this step, each application is evaluated and we received the news we were one of multiple organizations to be given a grant worth $15,000.

“The process of applying, researching, meeting with multiple people/groups to assist us in our research, along with beginning to organize the night of the event has been an eye opening experience. The response from the community has been nothing but positive. We are currently working on spreading the word about our Project Art and Soul for Everyone and the Relaxed Performance to the rest of the community. We are over the moon about the project and what it means for the future of HJ Cody, Sylvan Lake, and hopefully Central Alberta. We are beyond grateful to RBC and their generosity to community programs and for choosing us to receive one of the multiple grants to help make our community a better place for everyone.”

Full of upbeat music, dancing and humour, this musical is fun for all ages and a great way to enjoy some classic songs, nostalgia, and laughter. Audience members are encouraged to dress up in 60s fashion to truly be a part of the show. Guests are encouraged to purchase tickets in advance online through www.hjcody.ca or at the door. Tickets will be available at the door provided the show has not sold out.

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