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Paynesville Press - March 23, 2005

Sixth Grade Choir stages musical, "We Haz Jazz!"

By MIchael Jacobson

The Sixth Grade Choir from Paynesville Area Middle School presented, "We Haz Jazz!," a mini-musical about the history of jazz, on Monday, March 14, in the school auditorium.

Sixth grade choir presented musical The PAMS Sixth Grade Choir presented the musical "We Haz Jazz!" on Monday, March 14, in the school auditorium.

The story followed Riff (Mitchell Meed), a jazz lover, not just a jazz liker, as he attempted to introduce his peers to jazz music. A host of jazz greats - Charlie Parker (Devin Koerner), Tommy Dorsey (Ethan Brown), Benny Goodman (Kristine Hoeft), Ma Rainey (MaKayla Gottwald), Louis Armstrong (Matthew Lenzmeier), Dizzy Gillespie (Travis Hislop), Count Basie (Garrett Thompson), Billie Holiday (Kristyn Osterhaus), Duke Ellington (Kirsten Landmark-Masih), Bessie Smith (Briana Soine), Joe Oliver (Matthew Doom), Ella Fitzgerald (Kayla Youngs), Mary Lou Williams (Katrina Haagenson), and Thelonius Monk (Josh Buermann) - came to life to help Riff introduce jazz to his peers.

Jazz boys Sixth graders worked on the music since Christmas and chose speaking parts in January, said director Cheryl Bungum. The sixth grade boys (below) normally meet with Bungum for 20 minutes on Mondays, all the choir members normally meet with her for 20 minutes on Wednesdays, and the sixth grade girls (below, right) normally meet with her for 20 minutes on Fridays.

"I was happy with how they did with their limited amount of rehearsal time," said Bungum. "I was pleased with how they pulled this together. It's fun to see up-and-coming talent."

Bungum was thankful for the extra rehearsal time teachers allowed the choir in preparation of the mini-musical. The Sixth Grade Choir also performed their dress rehearsal in front of the Seventh and Eighth Grade Choir.

This winter, both choirs at the middle school presented separate musicals instead of a March concert. The musicals allowed students to experience a stage production and start to understand stage directions and voice projection, both speaking and singing, said Bungum.

Jazz girls Both the Sixth Grade Choir and the Seventh and Eighth Grade Choir will perform in public next at a concert on Monday, May 23.

Below right: Everyone bowed when Thelonius Monk (Josh Buermann) came on stage at the end of the musical.

Cast of Characters
(In Order of Appearance)
Riff: Mitchell Meed
Susan: Shelby Goltz
Ann: Alyssa Schmid
Melissa: Melissa Hawkinson
Thelonius Monk gets a bow Ellen: Brianna Zenner
Charlie Parker: Devin Koerner
Tommy Dorsey: Ethan Brown
Benny Goodman: Kristine Hoeft
Ma Rainey: MaKayla Gottwald
Louis Armstrong: Matthew Lenzmeier
Dizzy Gillespie: Travis Hislop
Count Basie: Garrett Thompson
Billie Holiday: Kristyn Osterhaus
Duke Ellington: Kirsten Landmark-Masih
Scott Joplin: Matt Frenchick
Bessie Smith: Briana Soine
Bobbie: Jessica Leverington
Josie: Jackie Skoglund
Fran: Taylor Hendrickson
Joe Oliver: Matthew Doom
Rose: Emily Magedanz
Betty: Kelli Fuchs
Cindy: Crystal Roberts
Ella Fitzgerald: Kayla Youngs
Mary Lou Williams: Katrina Haagenson
Thelonius Monk: Josh Buermann
Hobos: Rachel Fuchs, Jenna Kincaid, Mary Jo Prentice, Holly Twedt-Coulter, Bridget Weber, and Megan Weurtz
Soloists: Jessica Leverington, Jackie Skoglund, and Taylor Hendrickson
Rap Solos: Matthew Doom and Garrett Thompson
Director: Cheryl Bungum
Costumes: Colleen Pelton
Sound: Sam Bungum

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