The appropriately named band “Balding Men With Day Jobs” filled the hall with pickin’ and grinnin’ bluegrass tunes. Native American sketches from the Cheney Cowles Museum beckoned next door. Tap dancers clack-clack-clacked in the gym.
Surrounded by sounds, it was the mimes that hooked the attention of Holmes Elementary third-grader Johnny Robinson. As a train from the Whitworth Theater Mime Group chugged down the school’s hall last Thursday night, Robinson hopped on the caboose.
“Choo-choo-cha-choo,” he said, fist bobbing on an imaginary whistle chord.
Robinson, 9, seemed to get the point of the West Central school’s night of performance, an evening filled with music, dance and art. Big band music mingled with Wagner in the halls of the West Central school; jazz dancers wiggled next to clowns.
“I want to stay here all night,” said fourth-grader Trisha Samuels, brushing her fingers over sketches of Nez Pierce Indians.
Trisha’s mom, Lisa, organized the event with just a few phone calls. Nearly every artist she called jumped at the chance to display before elementary school children.
“I didn’t know I was doing this,” said Lisa Samuels, laughing, as parents and students wandered through the school doors. “It was like a little snowball that rolled downhill and grabbed me.”
A dozen performances in classrooms and the school gym included a bluegrass band, oil paintings from Garland artist Gloria Evans, tap dances from a Deer Park studio and a vaudeville show from a bunch of geriatric jokesters.
The Kitchen Graters Band usually entertains nursing home residents, but the group, which doesn’t include anyone whose age is less than the speed limit, had a younger audience howling Thursday. “I’m going on 30, but I’m young at heart,” said grandmother Dotty Williams.
Across the hall in the gym, beneath yellowing posters of Tommy Kramer and Reggie Jackson, 8-year-old Kayla Hanks tapped to “Bad Bad Leroy Brown,” her blond poney tail swinging like a Ferris wheel.
Hanks’ teacher, Deer Park dancer Tami Hull, organized the performance on three hours notice from Samuels after another dance group called in a last-minute cancelation. One parent drove from Deer Park with worn brakes to get her daughter to the performance.
Samuels, a West Central community activist, said the evening was important for Holmes’ students, who are statistically the city’s poorest.
“Lack of knowledge is impoverishment,” said Samuels, a mother of five. “Sometimes these kids’ families wouldn’t realize that art is more than drawing on paper.”
And art makes you hungry, said Holmes 8-year-old Sloan Herman. “I’m looking for the ice cream,” said Herman.
‘Pennies for Pat’
Who’d have thought that kindergartners could cover a month’s rent for a woman in need?
Browne Elementary School’s “Pennies for Pat” gathered 73,000 pennies for parent and school volunteer Pat Dear, who has bone marrow cancer.
Dear is scheduled to have a bone marrow transplant June 4 in Seattle’s Fred Hutchinson Cancer Institute. The donations will help Dear cover rent, food and medical expenses while staying in Seattle for three months.
The parents of Browne students collected another 657,000 pennies - bumping total to contribution $7,300.
“It’s hard not cry about it when I think about it,” said Dear, mother of a fifth-grade girl and sixth-grade boy at Browne.
The campaign was hatched in a student body meeting this winter and organized by student body president Tyler McCoy. Leadership advisor Sean McCarthy helped.
“It feels like we are really helping out a lot,” said McCoy, a sixth-grade student. “We want her to get better. We are praying for her.”
NC’s annual play returns
North Central High School’s annual “The Doll Shop” returns this weekend. The play, which involves 300 students, was first performed in 1930 and ran continuously until 1958. Current drama teacher Tom Armitage revived the production in 1984.
The play is based on a skeletal script in which a man catches three shoplifters in his doll shop and tells them a tale involving cave men, tragedy and World War II. Students write a new script each year, filling in the details.
The play runs May 2-4 and 9-11. Curtain time is 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $4 for adults, $3 for non-North Central students and $2 for NC students. Call Armitage at 353-3674 for more information.
Ridgeview needs donations
Ridgeview Elementary hoopsters are trying to raise money for four new basketball irons. Parent Patty Arthur is organizing a May 4 raffle of sports stuff, including a pair of Spokane Indians box seats, in hopes of raising $14,000.
To donate items, contact Arthur at 326-4217.
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MEMO: Education Notebook is a regular feature of the North Side Voice. If you have news about an interesting program or activity at a North Side school or about the achievements of North Side students, teachers or school staff, please let us know. Deadline is Monday. Write: Jonathan Martin, Education Notebook, North Side Voice, P.O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Call: 459-5484. Fax: 459-5482.