One hundred 9- and 10-year-olds will come together starting Tuesday to make beautiful music as part of Brookwood Elementary School's fourth grade performance of Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker.
"This is part of our 'Broadway at Brookwood' series," said Johnny Carr, the school's music specialist. "It is the only ballet we perform. Students learn about a classical ballet while performing it."
The 16th annual production will be held Dec. 6 and 7 at the school. The Dec. 6 performance is slated for 7 p.m., while two performances - one at 9 a.m. and the other at 9:45 a.m. - are set for Dec. 7.
"Guests will hear a fully orchestrated track of Tchaikovsky's classical music," said Carr, who is in his 30th year of teaching elementary school music. "But there are also speaking parts and lyrics to the popular melodies. All 100 students are in full, colorful costumes and makeup. The set changes twice, each displaying beautifully painted backdrops."
April Storm, of Martinez-Evans Dance Studio, has been working with the students since September on the ballet moves and choreography. The students have been learning the show's songs since August.
"It is a team effort with all of the teachers, many parents, our dance instructor and all of the students in the fourth grade," Carr said.
Additional fourth-graders will serve as the show's technical crew.
"Brookwood's Nutcracker has become a much-anticipated tradition in Columbia and surrounding counties," Carr said. "This year alone, the students will perform for approximately 2,000 people."
The performances are free, with seating on a first-come, first-served basis. For large group seating, contact the school at 855-7596.
"I have taught well over 15,000 students," said Carr when asked what motivates him to put on show-stopping performances year after year. "I constantly have them, some now adults with children of their own, stop me when they see me and tell me how much they enjoyed performing on stage when they were my students in elementary school. I feel like I might be making a difference in their lives by adding a positive musical memory."
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