SUBMITTED
Sixth graders present Disney’s “The Aristocats.” In front (l-r ) kneeling are Clara Myah, Hailee Kittleson, Isaac Nerstad, Jacob Olerud, Taylor Reinhardt, Austin Conway. Row 2 (standing) is Elijah Solum, Ellie Halverson,  Lillian Hundorf,, Jensen Krosch, Maria Albrecht, Caleb Ranzenberger , Braedon Solie; and Back row Josh Newgaard, Katelyn Kraus, Jaxon Strinmoen and Ethan Crouch. Not pictured- Celsey Nelson-Cody.
SUBMITTED Sixth graders present Disney’s “The Aristocats.” In front (l-r ) kneeling are Clara Myah, Hailee Kittleson, Isaac Nerstad, Jacob Olerud, Taylor Reinhardt, Austin Conway. Row 2 (standing) is Elijah Solum, Ellie Halverson, Lillian Hundorf,, Jensen Krosch, Maria Albrecht, Caleb Ranzenberger , Braedon Solie; and Back row Josh Newgaard, Katelyn Kraus, Jaxon Strinmoen and Ethan Crouch. Not pictured- Celsey Nelson-Cody.


Sixth graders are picking up on that feline beat because everybody wants to be a cat in their musical production of Disney’s “Aristocats.”

See favorite characters from the 1970 movie in the sixth grade musical on January 18, at 7 p.m. in the gymnasium.

Sixth graders have been working hard on the play since the autumn season and are ready to showcase their skills.

Though the movie is quite a bit older than the students (48 years to be exact), they previewed the film at the cinema before beginning work on their musical.

For those who haven’t seen the movie in a while or perhaps not at all, the movie version is about a mother cat and her three kittens who live with their wealthy owner in 1910 France.

The owner wills everything to her cats, since she has no living relatives or children, and after the cats pass on, then everything reverts to the butler.

The butler is less than pleased when he overhears this plan, so he kidnaps the cats and leaves them in the countryside.

The cats are initially lost but with the help of Thomas O’Malley (the Alley Cat), they find their way back to Paris amid meeting colorful characters like two giggly geese named Amelia and Abigail Gabble.

Director Vivian Kampschroer said the musical is based off the movie, but the kids are finding differences between the two productions.

“The kids have been working hard, and every obstacle that may come their way is no match for the determination they all have,” she said. “I think the most well known song that will be in the musical is ‘E’vrybody Wants to be a Cat.’”

From the costumes to the familiar music, the audience can expect a great show, she added.

This is the first time a high school student has directed the annual sixth grade musical. Previously, teachers or community members who had experience in threater directed the play. So far, it’s going well for the young director.

“I was really lucky to get this class to direct for my first time,” Kampschroer said. “They are really fast learners and are also eager to learn whatever I throw at them.”

The opportunity to direct the play came from relieving vocal director Bethany Engen of a heavy load of teaching all K-12 students, preparing for concerts and choir contests.

It was also a good chance for Kampschroer to direct a play in preparation for her plans after high school, which includes attending a school with a theatre program.

She adds the experience has made her much more empathetic to her director, English/Drama teacher Megan Miller.

“It’s very fun to see the kids grow and I think they really enjoy having me as their director,” Kampschroer said. “ I get asked so many questions that I may or may not have the answer to and it really makes me wonder if this is how she feels all the time.”

On top of directing “The Aristocats,” Kampschroer is also rehearsing for the One Act Dessert Theatre, “Arabian Nights,” which will premiere next week on Friday, Jan. 26.

She also studies hard in her classes, which include Advanced Placement (AP) college level subjects.

“It’s difficult to find the time and place to make everything work, but I’m trying my best and everyone at school really supports me,” she said.

As the director, Kampschroer is also getting an insight to a different area of theatre besides the performance sphere, though she still leans toward the stage and is ambitious about her career in theatre.

“No matter what I do, I will never lose sight of my theatre dreams,” she said. “No matter how much fun this is, you will most likely find me on stage rather than behind the curtains.”