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Northfield Community School Glows Brightly with the Beatles

NORTHFIELD — Black lights, fluorescent paint, “Penny Lane” and “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” all took center stage Friday evening at the Northfield Community School’s second annual Glow Theater. Art teacher and moderator of the Middle School Art Club Wesley Mayo brought the Glow Theater concept to the district last year. It was a big hit with the kids in the art club and the school community, and Mayo said he wanted to see if they could encourage more involvement to make it bigger and better than last year.

Mayo said his kids meet once a week and have been working since October to bring the show together. The fifth- and sixth-grade students were making performance pieces out of cardboard and acrylic paint to make them pop under the black lights. “The kids had total freedom in this project. What they were asked to do was pick out something in the lyrics of their song and then create something visual. The fifth- and sixth-grade students took on “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” and seventh- and eighth-grade students created their pieces for “Penny Lane.”

"They knew it had to have handles on the back so they could carry it across the stage, and they knew it had to blend with the song and tell the story of the music without saying a word,” Mayo said. “But it is the Beatles, and it was something they knew and had so much fun creating.”

Mayo reached out to NCS band director Brian Cook and choir director Mary Beth McGrath about joining in the Beatles-themed event this year. They were excited about the chance to help make it a visual arts and musical evening.

With the select band taking the stage, Cook explained that he had a great medley of Beatles songs for his musicians to take on. They were up to the challenge and kicked off the events on stage with a fast-paced version of some of the most recognizable Beatles tunes such as “Ticket to Ride” and “Yellow Submarine” that had the audience humming along.

The choir was pitch perfect with the likes of “Blackbird” and a fun version of “Let It Be” after giving a little historical background on the Fab Four.

Finally, it was time for the lights to go down, the black lights to come on and the music to go up, and the art club students, dressed in black, silently crisscrossed the stage holding their neon paintings to help tell the story of the iconic songs.

Sydney Shim smiled brightly as she held up her piece for “Penny Lane.” She said she had so much fun working on Glow Theater in the art club.

Once the performers were done, it was time for the audience members to find out why they had cut out sharks and yellow submarines. It took about one second to recognize “Baby Shark” playing loud and proud, and the whole place came alive with hundreds of kids and parents waving their sharks on a stick under the black lights and having a blast.

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