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.
Spirit: The Musical Playlist
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.
(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.
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.
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!
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.