School showcases Canadian icons

Where else can you find Anne of Green Gables, Sir John A. MacDonald and Don Cherry together?

Credit: Photo Contributed

A variety of famous Canadian icons are making their debut on stage.

Where else can you find Anne of Green Gables, Sir John A. MacDonald and Don Cherry together?

Before television, and even before radio, Chautauquas were popularly attended community events in both Canada and the United States featuring a mix of orators, performers, singers, musicians and other entertainers.

Kelowna schoolchildren are reviving an old Canadian tradition that blends education, entertainment and out of the box learning under a big top.

Grade 4 to 7 students at St. Joseph’s have contributed much effort leading up to their Chautauqua which premiers next week. The students have researched historical topics and embraced the social studies and Canadian heritage learning with enthusiasm.

“The new school curriculum embraces student-­directed learning,” says teacher Kate Hopley. “Our students have built this show. They have researched, gathered information and created their own historical, hysterical vignettes. It has been so empowering for them, and it has been beautiful for us, as teachers, to watch them grow through the process.”

Attendees will see Canada’s history book unfold on stage and a new way of learning celebrated.

Careful attention and countless hours have been dedicated to ensuring authenticity in costuming for the era by a team of talented volunteer fashion designers. Parents have worked with students to create voyageur canoes, tall ships and totem poles.

Vice Principal and music director Vivian Farr has worked with the students daily to perfect their vocal and instrumental performances. Students are often heard singing their Chautauqua songs in the halls, on the playground and at home and in the shower.

Student performers have developed new confidence and a keen desire to express themselves in a different way.

Three shows are planned, on May 30, May 31 and June 1. Each show starts inside a big top set up on the lawn of the school, 839 Sutherland Ave., at 6:30 p.m. and will last about two hours. Tickets are $20 for adults, and $14 for seniors and students. See Eventbrite (search chautauqua) for tickets, or call the school at 250-­763-­3371.