Nearly 20 students gather around Juanita Jevne, forming a semicircle in front of an audience of a few dozen people. Although the spectators are expecting the children to play traditional musical instruments, the group begins by creating music on something else – their bodies.
Although the children, all students at Five Acre School and all part of the after-school musical group Soundwaves, later played drums, marimbas and xylophones, they began the show with what Jevne calls "body percussion."
"It’s part of how I help them learn how to get the rhythm in their bodies and practice keeping their own part," said Jevne, who started the Soundwaves about six years ago.
Jevne, who co-founded Five Acre School along with her husband, Bill, said she decided to start the after-school group when she realized there was a void she couldn’t fill during school hours.
"I’m the music teacher at Five Acre and during the year playing music and performing isn’t always what fits into the curriculum," Jevne explained. "A lot of the students expressed a desire to play (music), so I thought it would have to be an after-school thing. I did it to provide that extra experience (for them)."
Jevne said she welcomes students of all experience levels into the group, and even holds extra practice sessions for newcomers; the students have nicknamed those practices "SLO" for "Soundwaves Learning Overtime."
"It’s a lot to learn – some of the pieces are quite hard," Jevne said. "We rehearse (twice a week), but it’s nice to have that overtime."
The group is 18 members strong and even has an assistant director, eighth-grader and former Soundwave player Calli Norman.
"She’s the one who thought of the name Soundwaves," Jevne said. "She loves helping out with the group."
In addition to drums, marimbas, recorders and xylophones, the students are perfecting skills on an instrument many people have never heard. They play the glockenspiel, a xylophone-like instrument with metal bars, often rotating around the instruments so each child has a turn.
"I joined because I like having the extra music time," explained 11-year-old Tristan Salvon-Harman.
Brandon Fulmer, also 11, recently began attending Five Acre School and decided to start with the Soundwaves immediately.
"It sounded fun," said Fulmer, who added that he’s learning new things every day.
The group performs several times a year at public concerts and for events such as StreamFest.
"I get a little nervous performing," said member Waverly Shreffler, 9. "We play all kinds of stuff, so it’s fun, too."
Fellow member Maeve Harris nodded in agreement.
"I like to play and it’s nice to know how to play a bunch of songs."
For more information on the Soundwaves or to request the group to play at an event, call Five Acre School at 681-7255.