Elizabeth Haddon Elementary School has a full set of young performers readying for their annual talent show on March 15 at 7 p.m. in the high school’s auditorium.
Doors open at 6:30 p.m.
This year’s theme is “The Magic of Disney,” and includes 22 diverse acts, from a group of feisty, coordinated pirates to singers to pianists.
Tickets, sold at the door, will be priced at $4 for adults, $2 for students and free for children aged 4 and under.
The 150 stars of the show are in the third-, fourth- and fifth-grades.
“It’s very well attended,” Director Caroll Stoner said, citing an average of 1,000 visitors.
Stoner is in her 12th year of helping with the show, 10 of which as director.
Over time, the show grew until it had to be moved to the high school auditorium. The same lighting equipment used in the early March production of “GiGi” will be used for the elementary show.
“Our show has just grown to this level,” she said.
The students audition, have their acts approved and then practice, practice, practice for the next five weeks.
That dedication to the show makes them more comfortable when they hit the real stage.
“They’re completely competent at that time,” Stoner said. “It’s a long commitment.”
“We run it like a production.”
And a production it will be, with acts such as fifth-grader Ian Rowe Nicholl’s original song, “Comets.”
“I know I’m connected to music,” Ian, 10, said. “I play three instruments.”
Plus, he sings in the ChildrenSong of New Jersey choir, which is based in Haddonfield.
In November of last year, a chorus began to play in his head and take shape.
“Pretty soon, I had my song, ‘Comets,’” he said.
While singing and playing the keyboard during a practice, fellow students sat on the edge of the stage, swaying along, entranced by the sound.
“I’ve been through so much with the song,” Ian said.
According to his mom, Michelle Rowe, Ian was interested in outer space when young.
When she first heard his song, she was surprised.
“My mouth dropped,” she said. “He just went ahead and did it.”
“He’s always had the ability. I think he thinks music.”
This is the first time in Stoner’s 12 years of talent that a student has produced an original song.
Fourth-grader Xiuting Shi, 9, a native of Japan, is participating in her first talent show at the school.
She moved to Haddonfield in 2011, according to mom Hui Pang.
Xiuting has played piano for half of her life, and follows in the footsteps of her sister.
“Her sister’s like a role model,” Pang said.
Xiuting has become accustomed to the borough.
“I think it’s really nice,” she said.
On stage, she transitions with ease from Sicilienne, Op. 78 to “Colors of the Wind,” made famous by “Pocahontas.”
Another famous Disney flick, “Pirates of the Caribbean” brings a different kind of energy into the practice room.
A group of 13 fourth-grade boys take to the stage, as the “Pirates of Lizzy Haddon,” coming out to The Lumineers “Ho Hey” though it quickly turns livelier, with swords clanging in perfect time, drums beating and classic pirate shouting.
“It’s really professionally done,” parent Joy Rhyne said.
“It’s not like any talent show I’ve ever had growing up,” Jenn Leonard, a parent of five, said. “It’s a really unique show.”
Parents, teachers and staff come together to help with the show.
“They go all out,” Leonard said. “The kids love it.”
For many of the kids, the show is a once in a lifetime experience.
“They’re just so excited,” Stoner said.
An added highlight will be the teacher and staff skit, featuring the school’s principal.
In the finale, all of the students pile onto the stage to tie in the theme through an extravagant act, staying together until the very end, Stoner said.
“They’re never going to forget this,” Leonard said.
Contact Caroll Stoner at (856) 795-1641 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more details on the show.