Northborough’s Zeh School showcasing students’ talent
By Nance Ebert, Contributing Writer
Northborough – There have been some exciting extracurricular activities going on at the Marion E. Zeh Elementary School.
On the evening of March 7, there was a Coffee House event. This was a chance for students to sign up and perform an instrumental, vocal, skit, dance or other talent of choice. There were refreshments served and the room was set up like a coffeehouse with many tables. Live drums, piano and bass also accompanied the performers.
“There was a crew of MCs that wrote jokes and introduced each act,” music teacher Allyn Phelps explained. “Thirty-five people participated in grades three to five that it was opened to. The evening event was very well received and this fundraiser helped to raise money for the fifth-grade chorus and band to attend the Great East Music Festival in Hood, N.H., followed by a trip to Canobie Lake Park.”
Fifth-grader Morgan Cote will be attending the festival as a member of the chorus and band. She plays the flute.
Cote performed two songs at the Coffee House.
“I sang two different songs with two different people. I was kind of nervous but it ended up being a lot of fun,” she said. “I sang, ‘Let It Go’ and ‘Love Story.’ I thought it was fun to see everyone perform.”
At the Great East Music Festival last year, the Zeh School took home a gold medal for chorus, so there is a lot of excitement towards this year’s event Friday, May 30.
The Drama Club, which is for grades two through five, recently performed an original production of “Mother Goose, Inc.,” in April. There were 63 children involved.
“We did have an audition for students that wanted to have a speaking part, but anyone could participate,” said Jennifer Ward, first-grade teacher and assistant director of the show.
The show was written in 1993 for the very same stage by a man named Stephen Murray. He was the music teacher at the Zeh School building when it was known as Oxford Academy. It has been performed all over the country and South Africa. He currently teaches music in Wayland.
“The story line is that all of the Mother Goose characters work for the corporation called Mother Goose, Inc. and they’re rivals with the Brothers Grimm. They have these rivaling fairy tale companies and the Brothers Grimm set out to sabotage Mother Goose and bring her business down. It’s kind of a fractured fairy tale. It’s got comedy and 10 dwarfs instead of seven and the music is terrific,” Ward said.
“Stephen Murray wrote the show, the music and the book. He collaborates now but he did it all when this was written. He actually attended one of our performances and loved it,” added Phelps.
The acting bug has bitten Andrew Arcona, the fifth-grader who played Prince Charming in the show. Next year, he hopes to participate in the Drama Club at the Robert E. Melican Middle School.
“I liked my part and wasn’t too nervous because I was comfortable with my speaking part and I did a play years before at my parish,” Arcona said. “I really enjoyed the cast party which was at Sawyers Bowling Alley.”
Phelps also mentioned that he is grateful to have so many parents stepping up to help with costumes, programs, tickets and the cast party.
There are several upcoming events that include a fourth- and fifth-grade chorus and band concert, a festival, and a fifth-grade collaboration musical about the U.S. Constitution.
“I am often frustrated by the use of the word ‘talent.’ When people hear it they assume only a few talented people can get up and perform, where it’s really everyone. We offer programs that are not just limited to a few. In fact they are unlimited and it’s based on people’s desires and what they want to work for. We give the kids a strong foundation; it’s the premise of everything we do. This is an issue that I am passionate about,” Phelps said.
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