Students rock out to musical 'Stone Soup'

North Bend Elementary School's kindergarten students rocked audiences with a musical version of "Stone Soup," a classic folk tale about hungry soldiers who trick greedy villagers into providing them with a feast. The students, who have "adopted" a kindergarten class in Uganda, learned about generosity through the story, said teacher and show director Mary-Lee Johnson.

"They really saw the comparisons. Like the kids in Uganda, the soldiers didn't have much," Johnson said.

Teachers also tied the show to language arts curriculum. The kindergartners studied various versions of the folk tale and discussed the differences. Just after spring break, students started rehearsing the show's songs, but they weren't assigned parts until the morning of the show because "you want it to be fresh for them," Johnson said.

The school's youngest class performed twice on May 1. Before the evening show for families, there was a practice run in the afternoon for the entire student body.

The opera was familiar to fifth graders, who had also performed "Stone Soup" when they were in kindergarten. Johnson rotates through five musicals so the graduating class always gets a flashback to their first North Bend performance.

"The whole school looks forward to the opera. It's fun for the fifth graders, as a sort of farewell for them," Johnson said. "It's a way for kindergartners to shine and show how much they've grown, too."

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