Tiny voices rang out Feb. 2 at the Cotton Building as a group of fourth- and fifth-graders from the Sunfield Farm and Waldorf School led their audience in a sing-a-long of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”
Accompanied by their teacher, Leaf Lovetree, the students sang, danced, joked, juggled and played musical instruments as part of their variety-show fundraiser for their upcoming trip to Whidbey Island.
“We’re raising money for the potlatch we’re going to in May,” 9-year-old Ursula Schmidt said. “Our teacher always likes to teach us songs and stuff.”
“He’s a real music fan,” added Maya Gunn, 9.
The students are headed to Whidbey Island in May for an annual event hosted by the Waldorf School in Clinton, where students will hear from tribal elders, make traditional crafts and participate in a feast.
A potlatch is a gift-giving feast celebrated by many indigenous peoples in the Northwest.
“We’ll go to Whidbey Island and spend two nights there,” said William Jackson, 12. “I heard there was a salmon feast.”
Schmidt, Gunn and two of their friends came up with their own dance, which they performed while singing the jaunty, “Black Socks Never Get Dirty,” sung to the laughter of the crowd.
“We got it stuck in our heads, and then made up the dance ourselves,” Schmidt said.
Jackson did his own comedy routine, which included walking on stage, drinking a bottle of water and taking a bow.
The students also brought their hand-drawn botany books to showcase their artwork to parents and guests, as well as baked goods for a sale.
“I’ve been looking forward to this year that we would study Native American culture,” said Lovetree, who accompanied students on his ukulele. “I feel lucky that we are able to take this trip to visit the native elders on Whidbey Island.”
In a way, he said, the benefit was a form of potlatch, where the students gave their audience the gift of music, poetry, comedy and art while they received donations for their trip in return.