Tonawanda News

The Town

February 12, 2013

Lindbergh first musical a learning experience

Lindbergh Elementary's first musical a learning experience for students

Tonawanda News — KENMORE — Lindbergh Elementary students will take their audience on a whirlwind trip to Paris this week — from a feline point of view.

The school will present its first full-scale musical, “Disney’s The Aristocats Kids, “ in a student performance today and public performances at 7 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday. The show, based on the 1970 Disney movie, features the talents of nearly 100 fourth- and fifth-grade students in lead roles, chorus and stage crew.

Jamie Holden, show

co-director and a music teacher at the school, said that the show has been in the works for years, as equipment to upgrade the auditorium was purchased and the facility, now called the Jordyn D’Alimonte Performing Arts Center, was dedicated to the memory of a late student.

The show was chosen last April and Holden and co-director Laura Waggoner started planning over the summer. Since auditions right before Thanksgiving, students have been rehearsing two or three times a week on the story of story of pampered feline Duchess and her three kittens and trials they go through after being cat-napped.

“I’m a big believer in music and art for the sake of music and art. Music and art are important,” Holden said. “(The students) get collaboration, they get teamwork, they get confidence, the experience of being up in front of an audience. The lessons will last a lifetime.”

Waggoner, a first-grade teacher, agreed. 

“They’re getting so many learning experiences,” she said of the young actors and crew. “They are working together. Every child is using their own talents. We have kids on the stage crew and kids on stage. Everyone’s helping.”

In addition to the on-stage learning, Holden said, the lessons have extended to the other grade levels and classrooms. The movie is set in 1910 Paris, and students have learned about French culture and art, he said. Second-graders created posters for the show that hang throughout the school.

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