Student musicians bringing ‘Movie Magic’ to IRHS
Indian River High School is ready to put on a show and, this time, students looked to the “silver screen” for inspiration. In fact, the IRHS Music Department has two shows planned in the next weeks — the “Movie Magic” Stage Band show May 16 and 17, and the IR Band and Chorus Concert on May 20.
The Stage Band features IR’s top musicians and singers. Past audiences have even asked Music Director Mark Marvel, “Are you sure those are children?” because they’re so talented, he said.
“Movie Magic” is a review of top songs from decades of film, leading from the DeLorean of “Back to the Future” to the bow of the Titanic.
The show swings from the poignant “Somewhere” from West Side Story to the bawdy “Master of the House” from “Les Misérables.”
Students also sing “Rainbow Connection” (with puppets), “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend” (with Marilyn Monroe) and the lively “I Wanna Be Like You” with apes from “The Jungle Book.”
“The audience is going to go [crazy]” for Liza Minelli’s “New York, New York,” Marvel said.
Act II will kick off with the ubiquitous “Happy” from “Despicable Me,” leading to a finale Marvel said he is certain will impress.
Students put hundreds of hours into the show, rehearsing and building set pieces, Marvel said. “They live, eat and breathe it.”
He does, too. As IRHS’s only music teacher, Marvel has been writing and arranging music almost daily since Easter to prepare for the show.
“It’s a passion of mine,” he said. “It’s tons of work, but it’s always spectacular.”
The special show is also a new challenge designed to help students to become stronger performers. Even Marvel — usually rocking on lead guitar — has grown as a musician after years of writing and directing the shows.
B.J. Baull will play John Belushi’s character in a Blues Brothers tribute. But the senior baritone said his favorite song might be the orchestrations in Adele’s “Skyfall.”
“I think it’s a lot of fun to do, give back to the community,” Baull said of the show, “give them music everyone’s heard.”
“The band and chorus do a lot for the community,” from marching in parades to playing at every football game, Marvel said. And this is the community’s chance to support the students and see them blow the roof off the building.
“Movie Magic” tickets can be purchased at the door, at $5 for students, $7 for adults and $10 for a two-night pass. All proceeds all benefit the IRHS Music Department, for equipment, instruments and more.
The music will continues Tuesday, May 20, with the annual Band and Chorus spring concert at 7 p.m. The free show culminates with a special arrangement of the “Armed Forces Salute,” which includes theme songs from each branch of the military. During that section, U.S. veterans will be asked to stand and be recognized for their respective branches.
“We would love to honor local vets. It has a special place in my heart, because my dad, who is 88, served on a destroyer escort in World War II,” Marvel said. “Nothing means more to him than his time in the service.”
Snacks and refreshments will be available at both shows.
“We’re very, very fortunate that the administration and [IRSD] Central Office support band and chorus in this building and all over the district,” Marvel said. In a time where some arts programs are losing time and funding, he added, “I’m lucky to still have 110 kids, and they play well.”
Marvel has directed music for decades, and he’s felt fortunate to build a musical career with students beyond the classroom.
He thanked his bandmates in Over Time, a classic and modern rock band. This summer marks the 10th anniversary of a band he began with three students, which today includes his two sons and three others. Their summer season begins with a performance at the Fat Tuna in Millville on Friday, May 23, from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m.
For more information on the shows, call Mark Marvel at (302) 539-7008.