Elkanah Highlights Winter 2014


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Winter 4 The Arts & Drama Edition “It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.” William Shakespeare


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This edition of Elkanah Highlights celebrates Arts and Culture@Elkanah. Walking through Elkanah House gives you the opportunity to view almost a lifetime of visual artworks from our own students, be it last year’s matric practical pieces, or the latest Mona Lisa from our Alligators and Hippos. The art and design rooms are a space where pupils can be sure not to be judged; it is a platform from which they can explore and experiment with different media in a non-threatening environment. It is a place where process is valued above all else and the product the wonderful surprise unwrapped in the end. High School pupils have advanced to able digital ‘designers’, and with computer technology as aid are now able to do screen printing, brand design and various other practical tasks. The Theatre@Elkanah opened in 2008 with the fantastic production of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat”. This incredible performance has left a legacy and set a standard for all Elkanah House productions which continues to wow audiences every year. From set design, props production, costume design, to auditions, rehearsals and finally opening night, productions at our Theatre have become celebrations, well-rounded experiences and in some cases life-changing events in the lives of pupils, staff and audiences alike. The orchestra in many cases plays a vital role in bringing these productions to life. Music not only brings joy, it also enhances life in many different ways, socially, intellectually and emotionally. It is with great enthusiasm that our music teachers guide and encourage each pupil to develop his/her talents to the fullest and to experience making music in all forms. A highlight is our music showcase which brings together children of all age groups to showcase their talents to an enthusiastic audience. It warms the heart when one watches staff members and pupils share the joy of a musical score in one combined orchestra, the joy they portray while working makes one want to be “part of the band”.. Last but not least… what would a musical be without the genius of a great choreographer and dancers? We celebrate this integral part of a stage production – be it a whimsical dance of seven joyous brides, or just to create a flowing river or dancing trees. One thing is for certain – there is always foot-tapping or head-bopping when one passes the walkways of Elkanah House. The canvas is Elkanah House and the performers’ accomplishments the reward. What a treat to see them through the works of their hands and hearts. Elkanah House has achieved a wonderful balance of Academic excellence, Sport and Arts and Culture. Offering Dance, Drama, Music and Design as part of a broader grade 12 subject choice it continues to be a school where every child has an opportunity to celebrate their individual talents. Curtain Calls, Canvases, Costumes and Magical Music PAGE TWO 4


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Collaborating All Elements The different elements of Arts and Culture at Elkanah House are often seen as separate entities, but during a major production, like our latest “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” all these elements are combined to create a masterpiece. From the very beginning, be it set and costume design, backdrop creation and the initial selection process to the end product; it is evident that collaboration of Visual Arts and Design, Drama, Dance and Music plays a major role in the success of an event of such magnitude. We wanted to share a little bit of what our audience experienced during the run of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers: “Tucked away behind a small shopping centre in Sunningdale is a theatre, it’s part of Elkanah House High School and the performances staged are far from an average school production. No squeaky can’t-holda-note voices or forgotten lines with a teacher prompting little Jimmy for every other sentence but fresh, youthful, exceptionally professional and very polished performances. ‘Seven Brides for Seven Brothers’ is almost at the end of a 10-Day Run. An amazing cast of high school students in a more than professional performance of a familiar musical supported by a first class orchestra delivers entertainment for audiences of all ages. Superbly acted with the perfect balance of serious storyline and laugh-out-loud comedy, the enjoyment of the cast is conveyed to the audience in a unique and special way. The foot tapping musical score, brought to life by the live orchestra, not pre-recorded synthetic sounds so often used in so many schools, amateur and even professional productions carry the audience into the musical itself creating first class, truly enjoyable entertainment. Everything a theatre production should be is brought to the table and delivered to the tee. ‘Seven Brides for Seven Brothers’ is another masterpiece from this little gem of a theatre that is fast growing up. This and past productions leave audiences spellbound and changing the mind-set of what a school production is; any preconceptions are thrown away as soon as the show starts and standing ovations are common and well deserved. One leaves the theatre wanting more with the audience questioning ‘was that really a school production?’ The answer is no, it wasn’t a school production but a production from a school that is passionate about theatre, with a staff that know the theatre and a team bold enough to tackle the most challenging of projects that say ‘if we are going to put on a show then it’s going to be the best’. Keep an eye open for the next show and when you attend the next production, and if you have waited all this time to go you are perfectly allowed to kick yourself for not doing so sooner. You will soon agree that this little theatre, tucked away behind a shopping centre is a real gem!” Matthew Newnham – Independent Blogger & Media Writer Remember This: Remember This: Our first major production was staged in 2008, in the form of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat”. It highlighted the launch and opening of the new theatre at the high school. Since then we have seen many productions in the Theatre@Elkanah. The first Grade 10 Busking task was held at the Schoolyard Market of September 2008. Pupils brought their bits with enormous gusto and courage and took this market, which was also still in its baby shoes by storm. 4 PAGE THREE


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DRAMA @ ELKANAH “Drama is life with the dull bits cut out”. Alfred Hitchcock PAGE THREE


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Drama Babies Our youngest pupils have already had a good taste of drama at the Junior campuses. Pre-Primary pupils from ages 3 to 6 years are exposed to drama as an optional activity. Classes take place once a week. During lessons they are encouraged to act out simple stories and poems. They also do oral exercises and mimes. Drama exercises are beneficial for building self-confidence and even the shyest pupils often participate. Remember This: Because of limited props and a very simple set, in 2013 Owethu Ndwandwe, playing Howie Newsome in “Our Town” had to to handle an imaginary horse as part of the script. He spent time at stables to familiarise himself. Acting with High School Pupils Some pupils from the junior campuses had the wonderful opportunity to audition and be part of the cast of “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” this year. It is always a great way of introducing our younger pupils to what is to come when their journey extends into the higher grades. Film Fairy Tales Grade 5 pupils told the stories of various classic fairy tales in the form of poems. They used iPads and the application “Book Creator” whereby they were able to explore with and use different types of media; including images, videos, photos, typing, writing and audio clips to compose a book using their poems. Remember This: Remember This: Hairspray Visual Arts pupils were roped in to produce artwork for the Hairspray poster and also giant hairspray cans used as part of stage décor. Bling Club Visual Arts pupils belonged to a “Bling Club”. They would sit together once a week, developing a design, refining the method and materials to use, and finally adorning themselves with the completed projects. 4 PAGE FIVE


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Meeting “Spud” “One of my highlights was to be interviewed live on the TV show, Hectic Nine-9, and it was really great to see what actually happens behind the scenes of shows like this. Katie and I were both quite nervous, but the funny and care free attitude of the presenters chased most of the nerves away. To top it all we got to meet ‘Rambo’ and ‘Christine’ from the movie ‘Spud’. They have both become famous actors. It was an amazing experience and it was a great way to start the next adventure, being the actual run of ‘Seven Brides’, with Nick and Shanaaz kicking off with an amazing opening night”. Francios van Schalkwyk – “Adam” – Seven Brides for Seven Brothers Wicked! Grade 6 pupils explored “Wicked the Musical” by listening to the soundtrack. What a feast for the soul as they waded through the words that make this story of Alphaba (the ‘wicked witch’ of the West…from the well-known ‘ Wizard of Oz’) come alive! Directing Seven Brides for Seven Brothers “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers was a delight to direct as it is such a welcome return to the old time musicals of Broadway. The simple joyfulness about this piece pervaded our rehearsal space and we chuckled our way through the script and songs. In spite of the rigour and discipline which is demanded, the cast were generous and inspiring to work with, frequently lifting the spirits of the production team, thereby reminding us of the reason we did it all. I was extremely proud of the entire ensemble including the backstage crew and wish to acknowledge their massive commitment to the process as they put in hours of rehearsal. The double casting of Adam and Milly was carefully managed in all aspects: rehearsal time, performances and the photo coverage where Katie and Francois were on the posters and Shanaaz and Nicholas were on the programme cover. Thanks to Kyan, Tamsin’s son for flicking a coin to make this democratic! These young actors had caused an impasse at the auditions until we had agreed and realised that all four of them deserved this rich opportunity. They supported each other in a truly collaborative rehearsal process. The music department was magnificently supportive with our gorgeous live orchestra and the art depart¬ment also provided many artistic touches seen on stage. I was extremely grateful to the entire Elkanah House family for this effort. You are all remarkable! This joyous, flirty musical gave me great joy and although mounting a production is a huge task, the enormous trust these young people placed in us was inspiring and uplifting. We are the lucky ones! ‘...and so you’ll forgive me, if I simply throw out my chest and say… beautiful, glorious, heavenly, marvellous, wonderful, wonderful day...’” Julie Dickson – Dramatic Arts HOD – Director, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers The Sound of Music It was with great excitement that some pupils from Elkanah House auditioned for the Pieter Toerien production of “The Sound of Music” at the end of 2013. Elkanah House boasted with two pupils from our own Senior Primary campus featuring as two of the Von Trap children, and a past pupil from the grade 12 class of 2013, as well as past teacher Bethany Mahnke as Maria. PAGE SIX 4


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Remember This: Wrapped Up Grade 11 Visual Arts pupils took part in the Spier Contemporary Wrap Day. The objective was to wrap everyday objects in a creative way and then exhibit them to visitors. Elkanah House wrapped up a pupil and her painting for display. When You Wish Upon a Star… Excitement mounts as the Blouberg Preparatory campus gets closer to the their concert. This year it is their turn to put on a production for their families, and Pinocchio was the choice. Every single pupil will be involved. A tangible buzz can be observed with all the preparation, practising and costume design which is currently well underway. Remember This: Derby Day Band A music highlight was the 2008 Derby Day Band. Music@Elkanah joined forces with Parklands College and after rehearsing together performed items such as “Come Summer” and “The Entertainer” to a joint audience in the Theatre@Elkanah. Remember This: Liqourice All Sorts Visual Arts pupils investigate art movements such as Pop Art, SuperRealism, Expressionism, Impressionism, Fauvism, Constructivism, Neo-Baroque, Cobra group and Surrealism. They interpreted it using Liquorice All Sorts as medium. 4 PAGE SEVEN


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Statues in A Moshpit Grade 9 Drama students let their hair down on Valentine’s day... yes they were working....task of the day....”Statues of a Moshpit”. Shakesperience Grade 11 Dramatic Arts students impressed once again with their versions of Shakespearian scenes. This evening, which is held in different annexes of the theatre, is part of an integrated task. Aside from some input from Mrs Dickson, this is the pupils’ own work. They are, as a cast, also responsible for arranging the lighting, dressing their set, costumes, music and for arranging their own rehearsal process. A difference to other years was brought by our “Madrigal Singers”, and this added to the Shakespearian flair of the event. Clowning Around Elkanah House grade 12 Drama pupils were performing clowning integrated tasks as part of their studies in “Theatre of the Absurd”. Grade 12 Absurd Monologues Matric Variety Show “The Annual Matric Variety Show was virtually sold out and the evening was a resounding success with a record amount being raised for the Matric Farewell. There were a number of ‘interesting’ and unusual acts and some of the hidden talents of the Matrics were put on display. What was so encouraging to see was the way in which the entire group participated in the evening and all the participants thoroughly enjoyed it. The hours of preparation that went into the show paid off and the level of performance was impressive. Special mention goes to the prefects who bravely continued the well-established tradition of the toothpaste skit and the grade 12 tutor teachers who did an amusing, if not entirely convincing ‘impersonation’ of worms.” Mr Greg Scott – Grade 12 Head PAGE EIGHT 4


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Entertaining the Community One of the highlights of the Elkanah@Ratanga fundraiser was the Elkanah House Drumline, Junior Band and Jazz Band performing to parents, pupils and family members. MUSIC @ ELKANAH “Music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy”. Ludwig van Beethoven


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Singing with Elvis Junior Primary and Senior Primary choirs were super excited to perform with Elvis Blue at Van Riebeeckstrand Primary. Each choir performed a short programme, followed by a song with Elvis. Percussion Practice Pre-primary pupils are introduced to music through several percussion exercises during music lessons. They made up their own song to present to the rest of the class while playing their instrument of choice. Ten Muso’s for Seven Brides The music department was extended during “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers”. Four staff members and 6 pupils were responsible for what was a brilliant music score, spring hats and all! Conducted by Mr Carl Fourie, this was a huge success and lent great experience to the music pupils involved. Girls’ Choir Workshop The Senior Primary girls’ choir had a workshop at school. They worked on their new repertoire. Further workshops were held in the course of the second term to train and rehearse for the performance with Elvis Blue at Van Riebeeckstrand Primary. Music for Teamwork Early Music Training “They weren’t… It wasn’t… They said it is because they couldn’t… The members of the girls’ guitar ensemble were battling with their new Music tuition begins in grade R with group keyboard classes. In piece of music. I wanted to describe the nuances of ensemble playing grade 1 pupils can sign up for piano, recorder or guitar lessons. and team work to them. I said: ‘Play from your heart, but strive to sync Singing lessons are also offered but these are subject to an audi- it in time to your neighbour’s’. A few minutes later, after much giggling tion first. There are two Junior Primary choirs. The school en- and many erroneous notes, determination replaced despair, and gravitas ters music students who show promise for external exams and graced the room. The result: the ‘epitomy’ of harmony. encourages them to take part in eisteddfods. The experience with the girls’ guitar ensemble reminded me that we all have a part to play in our place of work, society, and in the girl’s case, in the guitar ensemble. I was reminded of how when we do, ‘comradery’, The Boys’ and Girls’ guitar ensembles were treated to a perfor- consideration and an all-round awareness of others is realised.” mance by the “Palm Strings Trio” at the Baxter Theatre. Byron Carr – Senior Primary Music Senior Primary Marimbas Palm Strings Trio Remember This: Mozart Music Concert | Music pupils showcased their talent at the Mozart Music Concert in 2006. They dressed up to suit the role and brought their musical items to the audience with great dedication. See if you can spot some familiar faces… ISMA Workshop Elkanah House music pupils impressed Independent Schools Marketers from all over South Africa on arrival at the ISMA Workshop at the Vineyard Hotel. Remember This: PAGE TEN 4


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Madrigal Singers This year’s Shakesperience was a little bit different from previous years with “Madrigal Singers” to add to the flavour of the performances. Comprised of music and drama staff, it was just what these snippets from Shakespearian plays needed to add to their authenticity. Flowery Tops You don’t have to play rugby or stand on the side of the pitch to have “GEES”. This was evident during the run of “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers”. One minute they were musicians, but as spring blossomed on stage at the start of the second act, they transformed into a garden of happy flowers, painting a comical picture of a moving flower garden. The flowery hats were specially produced for the music team. Al Bairre Pupils and past pupils alike were delighted at the prospect of South African Band, “Al Bairre” performing at the High School. They were accompanied by supporting bands “The Coast”, “Red Tape Riots” and “The Literacies”. Getting a Closer Look Grade 9 music pupils learned about recording music and making their own music videos as part of Creative Arts. Ballet The Elkanah Dance Academy was opened to not only Elkanah House pupils, but all members of the Table View community. Today, better known as Dancelines, we still boast beautiful young dancers of all ages as part of the school. Remember This: A Classic Experience The Senior Music pupils attended two concerts in the City Hall performed by the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra. 4 PAGE FIFTEEN



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