Musical boot camp for students

Jo Castelow takes students through singing rehearsals.
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It has been an intense week for 92 young singers and performers who had only five days to master songs and dance moves before their show opens tomorrow night.

It is the 23rd year of the Mid Canterbury Summer Singing School and this year musical director and producer Jo Castelow has teamed up with guest choreographer Greta Casey-Solly to create a production called Icons.

‘‘It is Iconic music,’’ Jo said, ‘‘we’ve got things like The Beatles, Queen, David Bowie, The Commitments, Aretha Franklin … and Time Warp, everyone loves Time Warp.’’

There is also an acappella performance and Jo said they have some fabulous soloists this year.

The school is split into juniors aged nine to 13 who will perform a rock and roll medley and seniors aged 14 to 22.

‘‘Some of these people have done it 12 years in a row,’’ Jo said.

Jo calls it her musical theatre boot camp, ‘‘We do basically two months work in five and a half days.’’

Auditions were held last weekend, then at the start of the week they had singing rehearsals with Jo, then Greta takes them through choreography sessions during the second part of the week.

She said it was important for youth to have a creative outlet. ‘‘Here’s a place they can just be themselves, they are all really talented singers, it’s a place where they can just do their thing, it’s the norm here.’’

Jo said there is avery high talent pool in Mid Canterbury with previous students going on to perform on national stages.

‘‘It’s really neat, there are a lot that have gone through and now work in the industry.’’

Although the songs are more familiar to the slightly older generation Jo said the students have loved performing the iconic songs. ‘‘They love them and most of them have been brought up listening to them.’’

Icons is on this Friday and Saturday, from 7.30pm at the Ashburton Event Centre. Tickets are available at the venue or online.