Watch above: A Stony Plain school is getting a taste of Internet fame, and it’s all thanks to a video of a special version of the Cup Song. Emily Mertz explains.
EDMONTON – It took two guitars, 400 students, and a lot of plastic cups, and now, a Stony Plain school’s encouraging version of the Cup Song is earning it some Internet fame.
“Number one: we wanted to demonstrate what our school environment was like,” says Grade 4 teacher Mark Ivancic. “Number two: we wanted to show, when you work together, how powerful a message it can send to others.”
Meridian Heights School posted the video on YouTube at the end of May. By June 12, it had more than 7,000 views.
The song was composed by Ivancic. He has written songs with his guitar for nearly every occasion, and wanted a welcome back song for the students when they returned last fall.
“The chorus came from, I was excited to see the kids again, and I thought that on the first day, the message would be we needed to be a pillar for another student, and if every one of us could be a pillar for another person during the course of the year, what would the school environment be like?”
The lyrics were also inspired by a former principal Ivancic had – a person he still looks up to. “A remarkable human being.”
“He would often read this poem: I wish you enough bad times to enjoy the good times, I wish you enough rain so you enjoy the sun,” Ivancic recalls. “It’s that whole message that in life, we have enough bad times or maybe that’s just enough we need to get to the next day and appreciate the good times when they come.”
Ivancic saw a video of the Cup Song online, and asked music teacher Josephine Huedpohl if she could compose a cup arrangement to his song.
“Mark came to me and said ‘hey, remember that song I did for the first day of school? Can you make a cup pattern for it?’ And I said ‘sure,’” says Huedpohl.
“I just sat and listened and counted the beats and made the pattern.”
Then, they taught it to the Meridian Heights students.
“Hard, very hard,” recalls Grade 4 student Gabrielle Wood. “It was just complicated patterns, and once you finally got the patterns, you had to remember them, and remember when they’re supposed to happen.
“It was confusing, but when we finally got it, it was like ‘yes!’”
Huedpohl shares her student’s enthusiasm.
“Breathtaking,” she says, describing the first time she heard the song performed. “It was the coolest thing ever.”
“This version of the Cup Song is very amazing,” says Grade 9 student Genesis Lamboson. “Its message is to send a lot of people to be positive in every way.”
“Life is not perfect. This song can help you carry on through everything.”
The teachers say it was also meant to inspire others to cultivate strong school communities.
“It’s built my morale,” says Huedpohl, “it’s build the kids’ morale – not that we were struggling.
“The idea of the Cup Song was to showcase a little bit of the magic that happens here at Meridian.”
Integra Films taped the school performing the song and edited the video to post online.
“One of the lyrics is ‘I’d go crazy without you.’ So, I don’t know, I think I’d go crazy without this school,” says Grade 9 student Zoe Shearer.
“They’re great people and they’re so caring.”
“We’re more of a ‘we’ school… I don’t focus on me; we focus on everyone all together, and not just one.”
“We all need each other,” echoes Huedpohl, “and here at school… it’s all about the relationships we develop with our kids.”
So, what does Ivancic think the song’s message is?
“You know what? Hope. In any of the bad times you have to have hope that things get better. As well, we all need support. We all need a person beside us, and we can be that person to support someone else.”
© Shaw Media, 2014