Friday, May 22, 2015

Canoga Park Elementary Puts On Musical Extravaganza

By Nita Keswick, Quilt staff

The neighborhood around Canoga Park Elementary was abuzz with youthful voices, tinny music and screeching audio feedback this morning as much of the student body put on a musical showcase that would rival any act that’s taken the stage after the three-drink minimum on karaoke night at Instant Replay on Saticoy.

The free event, attended by many of the students’ unemployed parents and other local indigents, included some familiar favorites with a distinct Canoga Park flavor, such as “The Eensy-Weensy Bedbug,” “I’m A Little Hashpipe Short and Stout,” and “How Much Is That Pit Bull in the Window?”
Canoga Park Elementary School and its surrounding area was the site of a melodious morning of music and
attendees parking enormous, surprisingly late-model vehicles in front of residents' driveways. Staff photo.
Kayla Pfeiffer-Gonzalez, a first grader in Mrs. Hamilton’s class, wowed the audience with her rendering of “The Muffin Man.”

“Oh, do you know the muffin man, the muffin man, the muffin man, do you know the muffin man, who doesn’t sell muffins but instead sells roasted corn on a stick and chicharrones and Cheetos and cotton candy and ice cream and is outside the gates every day when we leave school?” the precocious six-year-old sang to an appreciative crowd.

“The kids have been practicing in the playground for two weeks for this,” says Judy Maxwell, a teacher's aide with the school. “We find it’s good to get ‘em up out of their seats and moving around a bit outside after they’ve had their LAUSD-mandated Breakfast-in-the-Classroom™ meal.” 
Judy Maxwell.

Otherwise, the students tend to get lethargic and sleepy, Maxwell noted. 

“Plus with the kids out-of-doors, we can send the janitors into the classrooms to clean up their mess quickly; you know, toss out the cereal bowls and milk cartons, hose down the desks and the walls to get rid of any scrambled eggs and syrup and whatnot,” she added.

While the many parents and curious vagrants in attendance were delighted with today’s tuneful symposium, it was the residents living in the vicinity around Canoga Park Elementary who have been enjoying a real musical treat: the program’s pre-recorded instrumental accompaniment has been blasted out over “Ol’ Blarey,” the school’s famous window-rattling 128dB public announcement system retrofitted from a World War II air raid siren, for two weeks of rehearsals, bright and early, for a full hour or more, every school day. 
Proud parents and unidentified others provide an eager audience for the student performers who sang a variety
of fun & frolicsome children's songs, some of which were intermittently coherent over the fuzzy din of speakers
which longtime staff members recall were blown out sometime during the Reagan administration. Staff photo.
"Music you say?!" asks an incredulous Téodor Pasternak from the curb in front of his house, as the area resident attempts to dislodge his crushed trash bin from between the front fender of a 2013 Ford Explorer XLT and the rear bumper of a 2015 Dodge Ram 3500 still with dealer plates on it. "I just naturally presumed there was some sort of ongoing situation out here over the last couple of weeks and I was hearing police bullhorns."

But what Pasternak and everyone — enthusiastic students, proud Moms & Dads, stalwart folks living in RVs near the school — really wants to know is will the concert return?

“Oh, we schedule this musical nonsense at the end of every school year,” admits Maxwell between bursts of applause and cheering. “It’s that many fewer lesson plans we have to do. We’re pretty much burned out by late April. Whoooooo!  Go Kayla!”

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