BOOM Shaka Laka Laka!
On Saturday, February 27th, 2016, the “Riverfrontiers” had a chance to fool around with something new – something that was a lot of fun, but that our Musical Director, Jeffrey Gartshore, was able use quite constructively.
We brought in the Boomwhackers! Purchased this summer from our friends at Long & McQuade, these colourful music tubes were just the thing to shake off the melancholy about Pride and Prejudice being over, and get the kids charged and enthused about starting seriously into their rehearsals for Aladdin and the Arabian Nights.
Before they got to play with the instruments, Jeff got them started on a warm-up – first breaking them into their ranges, and then going at it with them with the keyboard and their lovely voices, warming up.
They were a little straggly getting into a formation – Jeff asking them to form up and begin growing accustomed to a choral setup. Somehow, the words “flash mob” got uttered, and motivation grew to a feverish pitch. #RTCyouth really, REALLY want to do a flash mob this year! We’re going to try to make that happen! You want a preview of Aladdin out in public, don’t you, folks?
So, before we knew it, they were into a nice setup to begin their vocal warm ups, and la-lahing themselves up and down the scale to Jeff’s delight and satisfaction.
Finally, the Boomwhackers were in their hands. They got a few minutes to goof around (see the video) and get to know them (a handful of the kids had already been introduced to them in music class at school, but for most of them, they were a definite novelty), and then Jeff asked them to organise themselves from lowest to highest notes.
They accomplished this pretty quickly, and he placed them into a circle to test their groupings. It went quite well, and they went on to play chords and a few other short pieces together as Jeff called out notes or numbers. We foresee a lot of experimentation with these fun tools in the coming months.
Near the end, he let them all goof around, and they were a bit chaotic, and yet quite a lot of fun, really! I liked that we were making them not only warm up their voices, but their ears, to work together for the sound they wanted. It was a good warmup.
From there, we went on to rehearse the first four and a half scenes of Aladdin. We had a shorter than usual rehearsal day this week, so that’s about as far as we got, but it was an encouraging run-through. The emphasis of the day was on the comedic timing, and reinforcing their blocking for each of those scenes.
We left off at just the right place to begin next weekend, when the JUNIORS COME BACK – one of their scenes is up to run through. Just perfect! In another few days, we’ll be our full company again. Juniors will be rejoining us for the rest of the season in the mornings, rather than the afternoons.
Next weekend will also be our Pride and Prejudice cast party potluck, and our afternoon will be ALL dance (so we should be eating lightly at the party!!). If they work very hard, and Drake allows it, I may have a little something to show you from that process, as well!