St. Johns Lutheran School students practice the "Twist" for their upcoming musical slated for Sunday, March 3.PHOTO BY GRETCHEN MENSINK LOVEJOY/SPRING VALLEY TRIBUNE
St. Johns Lutheran School students practice the "Twist" for their upcoming musical slated for Sunday, March 3.

"Come on baby, let's do the twist! Come on baby, let's do the twist ... around, around and around, let me take you by your little hand and go like THIS!"

"This year, the students are doing the play 'Rock and Roll Forever ... How It All Began,'" said St. Johns Lutheran School kindergarten teacher and musical director Rachel Welch, preparing her students to do the "Twist" during a rehearsal last week for the performance of the play, which will be presented Sunday, March 3, at 2 p.m. in the old gym at Kingsland Middle School in Wykoff.

The play features the American history of rock and roll, specifically music from the '50s and '60s. "The audience will get to hear music from some of the biggest names from that era such as The Beatles, Little Richard, Beach Boys and Elvis Presley," Welch related, adding that all students, from kindergarten up to eighth grade, get to get their groove on and hit the stage with 20th century style.

According to the director, the production is challenging but entertaining to perform. "The students put on a musical two years in a row, then every third year, the parents do the production. Next year, it's the parents' turn.

"This year, it's been a challenge to learn the songs because of how fast-paced they are. But kids are able to learn quickly with music, so they are coming along great. It's fun to see the kids get excited about the music ... when the music starts and some of them instantly start moving, dancing and tapping their feet."

The students will be decked out in diner fashion as they bring on the oldies. The costumes will consist of clothing styles from the '50s and '60s and specific to some of the musical acts previously noted.

"We have wonderful parent volunteers that are in charge of the costumes and the props and scenery that we need for the production," she said.

Welch enjoys directing the show for various reasons, beginning with witnessing interclass cooperation.

"I like seeing the students working hard together. The older students can be great role models for the younger students. It's great to see the students transform themselves into their characters. It's a great opportunity for some of the students to step forward and really showcase their talents."

She continued, "These students spend a great deal of time learning speaking parts, songs and choreography. Even though it's probably their favorite activity for school, many of them are stepping out of their comfort zone to do these productions, but are willing to do it for the sake of success of the musical. One of the students told me she likes being all together with her friends during practice. She also likes the songs they are singing."

A collection will be taken at the play and the funds received will go toward paying any expenses for the musical, with the rest of the money going toward the library to help purchase new books and supplies.

Welch promised audience members will enjoy "the whole thing!"

"It will be a trip down memory lane for some in the audience. It should keep everyone moving to the beat of the music in their seats," she concluded.