Rockin’ Into the New Year at Banneker Middle School


Christina Anderson

Each year Banneker Middle School puts on a student-centered show, Rock and Soul.

Christina Anderson, Staff Writer

At Benjamin Banneker Middle School, students are jumping into the first stages of a new production of “Rock ‘N’ Soul,” a 19 year old production that combines various artistic talents of students to create a concert unlike any other middle school concert.  Just as they’ve done in the past, this year’s performers begin the process of their musical journey months before the big show debuts in May when the Rock ‘N’ Soul students will take to the stage for four live evening shows in the Banneker gym. 

Led by directors Mr. Peter McAdams, Ms. Dorothy Lee, and Ms. Julie Barry, the students fulfill roles as singers, band members, and stage crew to conduct the show, while the directors provide support and guidance. The shows require students to work together as one family to perform songs through groovy music, stunning vocals, and vivid sets. 

Each year’s show offers a unique theme that presents a new list of songs for the students to learn and dances to perfect.  This year’s list totals sixteen songs. The students are given this list and are expected to listen to them devoutly, brainstorming new ideas to incorporate into the performance. 

In the months leading up to the performances, students work with full effort during every rehearsal, and are tasked with jobs such as learning lyrics, memorizing music, designing posters and backdrops, and learning how to operate light and sound equipment. Over the four months, each cast member will log countless hours of rehearsal time to prepare for the shows.

In addition to the staff and middle school students, countless high school students and former Rock ‘N’ Soulers participate in the show by providing guidance to the new cast members. This is common for the show, as students, even after their time as middle schoolers has expired, feel a connection and want to give back . 

Three year veteran stage crew member and current high school junior Cristopher Ischiu explains, “Essentially, I like to help people learn new things with equipment that isn’t found at your average middle school. Also, I enjoy going back to see the directors and tell them how I’m doing, and hopefully get advice on how to proceed with my future.”

With four months to prepare, the cast is getting straight to work to ensure that their show matches up to the legacy of Rock ‘N’ Soul that has traveled through the school for nearly two decades.