MUSCATINE — For the first time, Jefferson Elementary School is hosting a school musical.
Jefferson Elementary will present “Munchkin Meditation: Conflict Resolution in Oz” on Tuesday, May 24 in the Old Central Middle School Auditorium. The first performance at 1 p.m. is for Jefferson students and Muscatine School District staff only. A performance at 5 p.m. is free and open to the public.
The musical focuses on the Munchkins from “Wizard of Oz” one year after Dorothy’s departure. They act as mediators for the other characters, resolving conflicts through strategy and song.
Cole Flack, the school’s music teacher and choir director, said the school’s new musical theater club, one of several after-school clubs the school now offers, was responsible for the show.
“The inspiration for starting this club was to provide experiences that students won’t have the opportunity to have until they enter middle school or high school,” Flack explained. “Starting kids young and getting them on stage singing and performing in front of others might help as they move into the upper grades.”
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Flack said the students were excited to play and enjoyed it. The children were “flying through the music” and singing in the hallways after their first rehearsal, he said.
“It really changed the atmosphere at Jefferson,” he said.
With performance, students learn memorization, nonverbal communication, perseverance, acting and singing, which can help in other academic areas, he said.
“Scientists have shown that music helps enormously in improving test scores,” he said. “These students also work well as a team. They encouraged each other and helped students remember words or choreography.
Students have 34 hours of rehearsal for about 10 weeks, meeting every Tuesday and Thursday after school until 5 p.m.
Flack said he focused the students on the joy of being on stage.
“This musical is about 30 minutes long and every student can get involved in some way,” he said. “The musical also gives the characters advice on how to resolve conflicts when they arise. I even learned new strategies to calm down thanks to this musical. This is a great reminder for adults and great advice for students to hear when we encounter conflict. »
“Our students have been working together for months preparing for the show and they are very excited,” said principal Dr. Kandy Steel.
Steel said after-school clubs at Jefferson were an “incredible way to develop and inspire students” that added to their academic experiences.
“I am so pleased with the teachers, paraeducators and members of the Jefferson community who help create the vision for this program and their willingness to work together to achieve amazing things for our students,” she said. .