School Spirit:

The Musical

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Yes, School Spirit began life as a half written script for a primary school musical production written by myself. It ended up as an online comic strip shortly afterwards. The musical itself though, did eventuate and was performed by the grade 5/6 Unit of my primary school in October 2004. Here you can find a few bits and pieces from the show if it has pricked your interest.

While most of the characters made the transition across to the comic strip, not every character that features in the musical made the journey across. The play also included characters such as the Groundsman who worked hard keeping the schoolyard neast and tidy, three members of a barber ghost quartet, a grumpy spirit who lurked in the cemetery by the name of Yorick Heep, and the spirit of the Soldier. Miss Conway, the children's respected teacher in the strip, was never part of the play. She was only created for the strip. In the musical, the teacher was one Mrs Williams, an old war widow close to the end of her career.

The characters from the musical that did make it across to the strip include Casper, Cody and Grace, as well as Brylcreem and Davey Jones. Wendy was the central spirit character, and Old Bill featured regularly. Chastity, Liberty and Pandora were also major characters in the story, primarily being a one sided love interest for Casper.

Below are links (many still in progress) to the lyrics and original musical sequences of the fourteen original songs written for the play, along with little bits of information relevant to them.

School Spirit: The Musical Playlist
Didn't See You There Featuring the three members of the Barber Ghost Quartet, this piece, influenced by an old swing feel, was the opening number of the show.
Eleven (Love's Primary School Shoes) Casper's song, Eleven deals with the awkward and uncertain emotions of an eleven year old trying to win the heart, or at the very least some of the attention of, an older woman of twelve.
Schoolyard Beat The first large number, this march introduces through song the characters of Mr Kelly, Davey Jones, Grace and Brylcreem during a school assembly. Intentionally silly, Casper and Cody also get the final verse.
Skellingtons In Wellingtons Old Bill's introduction coincides with his song about the harmless spirits in the cemetery. With a minor key chord progression and haunting harpsichord and strings this piece uses the spooky tone to show that life's really worth holding onto. And yes, it borrows from Ghostbusters in the beginning!
Didn't See You There (Variation #1) The Barber Ghost Quartet feature again, popping on to give a little insight into the character of Yorick Heep in this quick little interlude. Short and silly, it perhaps gives an understanding of why Yorick now acts the way he does.
Until Forever Ends The true romantic piece of the story, this ballad features both Mrs Williams, the war widowed teacher singing about her lost husband, the Soldier. He also features in the piece and sings to her, even though she cannot see or hear him. This was the tear jerker of the show.
Schoolyard Beauty The centre of attention, this is Chastity's song with Liberty and Pandora singing backup like the Supremes. Aiming for an Australian rock feel, this piece mixes the sounds and feel of songs by Dragon, Paul Kelly and Men At Work. Casper and Cody also feature during the slower interludes.
Believe In Me (I Remember When) Wendy's solo piece, Believe In Me is a typical pop ballad style song. It acts as the finale to the first Act and through it Wendy tells the audience of the emotions and bittersweet reality of existance as a spirit, or in the real world, somebody who is there yet rarely openly appreciated.
Why Don't Kids Play Marbles Any More? The opening song of the second Act, this features the Groundsman and a chorus of school children in the schoolyard. It is a reflective look back on how things have changed since the old days. Again this piece was highly influenced by Australian music so in it can be heard traces of John Farnham, Ross Wilson, Skyhooks, Mi-Sex and Moving Pictures.
The Man Who Lies Below More a folk-country feel to the main segment of the song, this features the spirits and asks whether you can judge a life by the gravestone of the man. Yorick Heep features in the middle refrain which borrows blatantly from the Little River Band with a jazzy interlude. The rest of the song, as a pure fluke which I found humourous when I realised, is the chord progression from a Redgum song.
Didn't See You There (Variation #2) Once more the Barber Ghost Quartet pop on to sing a song. This time, it is in response to Cody not appearing during the eighth scene as he was supposed to. Reading in the script that he was supposed to die in scene eight, Cody decides instead to remain backstage and say his lines from there. The Quartet appears later to complain.
Who Cheers Up The Clown? Cody's song, this piece is more a rock song heavily influenced by the style and sound of the '80s. While telling of the emotions of the class clown who doesn't really want to be the jester, within its music can be heard the influences of Australian bands 1927 and Icehouse, as well as other musical pieces such as the Neverending Story and Send In The Clowns.
Until Forever Ends Reprise Without giving away part of the final scene of the play, this piece repises the love theme between Mrs Williams and the Soldier from the first Act. If the song's first appearance earlier in the play didn't get the audience feeling all soft inside, by now it almost always brought out the tears.
That's The Spirit The finale, That's The Spirit brings the entire cast back together once the story is all but complete. Again, more of a pop/rock sort of feel, it aims to show how the years at school are the time when you learn to be the person you will become. While I had the chord progression written for a long time, I wrote the melody and lyrics in an afternoon after going to my own primary shool's 125 anniversary.

The lyrics and original musical sequences I created for each of these songs will be uploaded once each week over the next fourteen weeks (from late August) until all fourteen songs are online.

Feedback is more than welcome, as are any requests for further information about the musical itself. I will try to answer any questions as well as I am able. Any such requests or comments, please feel free to use the forum to pass them on.


School Spirit is hosted on Comic Genesis, a free webhosting and site automation service for webcomics.