Pictured above: Fairview music teacher Michael Saul.
It’s close to midday, and something special is lurking on the grass field at Farview Elementary. There around 350 students decked out in Halloween costumes performing a well-choreographed zombie dance in step with the iconic 1980s song Thriller!
The impressive school-wide Halloween performance is the brainchild of Fairview music teacher Michael Saul – also known as Dr. Saul at Fairview, because he earned his doctorate in fine arts.
“Rules about equipment usage and sharing were evolving at the start of the year, and I was looking for an activity that would allow for social distancing and no equipment to kick things off. It seemed perfect. I’ve considered doing it in the past but always ran out of time,” says Saul.
Students started practising in September and never grew tired of rehearsing for the Thriller performance.
“There was a remarkable rate of participation, and I got continuous feedback that the students loved learning this dance. Apparently, a nicely dramatic zombie rise will keep them coming back from K-7,” Saul says.
Acting Fairview principal Jenn Gallop got first-hand updates about how the rehearsals were going.
“The kids loved it. I have a kindergartener here, and all he could talk about when he came home was doing the zombie walk from the music room to class,” said Gallop.
“Dr. Saul is super creative. He came up with a COVID-friendly way to teach music this year.
The choreography for Thriller was socially distanced, and there was no cross-cohorting. They didn’t use musical instruments, and he still managed to make it fun, educational and memorable for the students.”
Gallop said the performance, which was videotaped and shared with the school community, was very well received.
“It’s been a challenging year for everyone, so it’s nice for our entire school community to share this positive, unique experience. The kids were so excited and had so much fun.”