Chatfield musicians ‘showcase’ talent during special event at Chatfield Center for the Arts

GRETCHEN MENSINK LOVEJOY/CHATFIELD NEWS Chatfield music teacher Jessica MacLeod helps Kira DeBuhr rehearse her piano piece in preparation for the Gopher Showcase. Students Jorja Fishbaugher and Faith Schultz await their turn onstage.

GRETCHEN MENSINK LOVEJOY/CHATFIELD NEWS Makenzie Schad and Danika Henry practice their song before the Gopher Showcase opens this past Tuesday, March 5.

GRETCHEN MENSINK LOVEJOY/CHATFIELD NEWS Faith Schultz sings Lauren Aquilina's "King" as part of the 2019 Gopher Showcase.
By : 
Gretchen Mensink Lovejoy
Chatfield News

Jessica MacLeod showed off her Gophers with cups, frogs, rain, rocking years, the man in the moon, and the lion that sleeps tonight.

That was just part one.

“Awesome job!” MacLeod congratulated her students last Tuesday evening, March 5, during the rescheduled 2019 Chatfield Gopher Showcase. This was the second annual showcase for Chatfield Elementary School students to bravely stand front and center on the Potter Auditorium stage, giving their best performances of music they’d personally chosen to share with an audience of parents, grandparents, siblings and friends.

This year’s showcase was in two parts, as it offered a chance for family of the performers and members of the community to stop in and enjoy the entire evening’s tunes or take in the half of the concert in which their special youngster was performing, if they had other obligations.

Part one opened with singers Chloe Grover and Helena Stehr bringing Anna Kendrick’s “Cups” from the “Pitch Perfect” movie trilogy, after which Makenzie Schad and Danika Henry brought their A game to the stage with Rachel Platten’s “Fight Song.”

Kira DeBuhr performed “Skip to My Lou” at the piano, under the instruction of RuthAnn Lund, followed by Lucy Allen at the keys — under the instruction of Laurie Helmers — with “My Frog.” Catherine Schieffelbein and Cora Evans shared a moment in the spotlight with their voice and piano performance of “Old MacDonald,” under the instruction of Lund, after which Calvin DeBuhr, taught also by Lund, came to the keyboard with “Rain, Rain.”

It was the “First Time in Forever” played by Maryclaire Miron under Lund’s tutelage, ensued by the “Gophers Strike Again” —Dani Jeffers and Aubrey Crowson, led by MacLeod, on the flute and playing an untitled selection.

Ashlyn Schaitel and Makynli Ostby began a lineup of singers, sharing their song “Little Do You Know,” after which Allia Whalen channeled some serious girl power with “How Far I’ll Go” from the movie “Moana,” and Kylie Davidson showed off her affinity for the queen of country, Dolly Parton, by singing Parton’s “Rocking Years.”

Lund’s student, Sedona Thompson, struck a chord or two with “The Man in the Moon” and “Swans on the Lake,” and Colter Miliander and Kael Simpson broke out the jungle groove with their voice and ukulele duet of “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” from “The Lion King,” under the guidance of former Chatfield Elementary music teacher Carmen Narveson.

Part two of the showcase featured the talents of instrumental group “The Storm” — including Kylie Sinn, Ella Lane and Trindy Barkeim on clarinet, Grace Finley on saxophone, Hannah Tweten on horn, Hailey Hammill on trombone, and Elise Moody on percussion, all under the instruction of MacLeod.

Max Ruskell highlighted what he’d learned from his piano teacher, Basha Vanderzanden, with “Ready for Action” before Jorja Fishbaugher presented her rendition of Alison Krauss’s lullaby, “Baby Mine.”

Megan Drogemuller sang “Don’t Let Me Down” and Cage Gilbertson riffed on Elton John’s “I’m Still Standing.”

Jessica Daly’s violin student, Ava Volker, aimed for the stars with “Twinkle, Twinkle” and for a lazy afternoon ride with “Lightly Row.”

Vanderzanden’s student, Brittin Ruskell, swung feet from the piano bench before playing Claude Debussy’s “Cakewalk” and Lund’s student, Layla Cornell, got the courage to share her version of “Aura Lee.”

Andie Ruskell, another of Vanderzanden’s pupils, ventured to challenge with Mozart’s “Menuetto I in C Major,” Ethan Bosma paid tribute to the late Leonard Cohen with “Hallelujah,” Katerina Brewer sang “Would You Be So Kind?” and Faith Schultz offered up Lauren Aquilina’s “King,” a song of regaining one’s confidence.

A clarinet ensemble comprised of Evie Delaney, Anna Halvorson, Brynn Horsman, Veera House and Grace Patten, taking cues from MacLeod, brought music from air as they collaborated on “A-Tisket, A-Tasket” and “You Are My Sunshine,” and Sam Ruskell, Vanderzanden’s pupil, had the honor of closing out the evening with his piano execution of “Fuego de la passion.”

MacLeod thanked the audience for their enthusiastic support of the students, as it was their decision to be onstage — small under the lights but brave in spirit.

She added, “We’d like to give our special thanks this evening to the Chatfield Center for the Arts, our backstage volunteers, and CCTV for their support to make this evening a special event. We’d like to congratulate each of the students, their parents and their private music instructors on a job well done.”

Upcoming school concerts were listed at the end of the program, with the ninth through twelfth grade festival band and choir concert set for Monday, March 18, at 7 p.m., the fifth through twelfth grades’ pops concert coming up on Saturday, April 27, at 7 p.m., and the first through third grade spring music concert on Thursday, May 9, at 7 p.m.

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