KINDERGARTEN’S POWERBALLADS

The Unlikely Occurrence of Kindergartners Composing

Two Soaring Love Songs

(and Their Perfectly Rockin’ Antidote)

k-unicorn

Usually five year olds consider overt declarations of love yucky.  So when kindergartners create their own original fairy tales operas, these don’t tend to end with romantic knot-tying, even if so many traditional fairy tales do.  Yes, Happily Ever Afters are really important to Kindergartners.  In the sense that all turns out alright and everybody gets along as friends in the end of any story,  so much so that even the most dastardly villains will invariably be magically turned good and join in friendship with the heroes of the story (as in this year’s previously posted K-2 fairy tale opera at the Brooklyn Children’s School). Friendship for ever for all.  That is what five year olds want.  Not mushy love stuff.  That makes them cackle and hoot in embarrassment.

So it came as a bit of a surprise to me that K-3’s opera this year included not just one but two soaring romantic anthems, which the children wrote and sang with lusty enthusiasm, nary a wince or giggle or grimace to be evinced.  Even more surprising that these love ballads landed in a story that started off as an adventure quest narrative with no hint of romantic implications, the set up being a town in environmental peril and a knight sent off on a quest to retrieve the one thing that will save them all:

The Air is So Bad

 

THE AIR IS SO BAD

IF WE DON’T CLEAN THE AIR

WE WON’T SURVIVE

 

THE AIR IS SO BAD

WE MUST HAVE FLOWERS

TO MAKE THE AIR HEALTHY

 

THE AIR IS SO BAD

THEY MUST GROW QUICKER

SO WE DON’T CHOKE

 

THE AIR IS SO BAD

TO MAKE THEM GROW QUICKER

WE NEED UNICORN TEARS

 

THE AIR IS SO BAD

THE UNICORN TEARS

WILL MAKE THEM GROW FASTER

THE AIR IS SO BAD

  

So, to recap:  the town is choking in bad air.  Flowers must be grown fast to make the air better.  To make the flowers grow fast enough, unicorn tears are needed.  A bucket of unicorn tears, to be precise.

rainbows_nordvik_largeTo get to the unicorn one must find the meadow in the sky.  A wizard helps the knight get to the meadow in the sky by magically creating a rainbow up to the clouds.  The knight climbs up the rainbow. So far so complicated (and unromantic).  But we are not there yet.

You see, once in the sky, the knight discovers a large ocean separating him from the unicorn’s meadow.  A mermaid appears in the ocean and takes a liking to the knight. Quite a liking!  And thus we are suddenly treated to an imploring love song, much in the vein of a Celine Dion power ballad:

I am in Love With You

 

I AM IN LOVE WITH YOU

YOU ARE SO BEAUTIFUL

I WISH I WAS LIKE YOU

I THINK YOU’RE PRETTY

(Remember, this is the mermaid singing to the knight…)

 

I LOVE YOU

I LOVE YOU YOU YOU

I LOVE YOU VERY MUCH

WHY WON’T YOU LOVE ME TOO

(Why won’t you love me too?… Maybe this is more an Adele than a Celine song…)

 

I WANT YOU HERE WITH ME

STAY IN THE OCEAN

STAY IN THE SEA WITH ME

WHY WON’T YOU STAY WITH ME

 

I LOVE YOU

I LOVE YOU YOU YOU

I LOVE YOU VERY MUCH

WHY WON’T YOU MARRY ME?

  

So much unabashed longing.  So much “I love you you you!”  The Kindergartners laughed a little at the musically and lyrically soaring declarations they were writing, but mostly in appreciation.  Considering the massive disruptive giggling I am used to from Kindergartners at previous years’ occasional, much milder marriage related fairy tale finales, K-3’s dedication to this naked crooning was quite admirable and sophisticated.

But more romantic antheming was still to come.

K-cs-1232-st-lv_celinedion_1024x422b

The mermaid offers to carry the knight over to the meadow of the unicorn.  And the knight promises he will return to the mermaid after he brings the bucket of unicorn tears to the town.

So the knight finally makes it to the unicorn in the meadow in the sky.  But he still doesn’t know how to convince the unicorn to give him a bucket full of unicorn tears.  You see, it’s really hard to get a unicorn to cry, much less cry a whole bucket of tears.  But the knight tells the unicorn about the mermaid and how much in love with him she is and how he has promised to return to her.  And lo and behold, the unicorn finds the story so moving, it cries a bucket of tears.

The mermaid takes the knight back to the rainbow’s side of her ocean.  The knight goes down the rainbow to give the town the bucket of tears K-la-et-ms-josh-groban-stages-dolby-theatre-review-20151030that will quickly grow the flowers to get rid of all that bad air everyone was chocking on. The town is saved, everyone cheers, the knight goes back up the rainbow to return to the mermaid.

Cue the finale, Power Ballad #2, something I can easily imagine Josh Groban singing lustily:

I Return

 

I RETURN

I RETURN TO YOU

I LOVE YOU

I LOVE YOU SO MUCH

I WILL LIVE WITH YOU IN THE SEA

JUST YOU AND ME

 

I WILL LIVE WITH YOU ALL DAY

I WILL LIVE WITH YOU ALL NIGHT AND DAY

I WILL NEVER GO AWAY

I WILL STAY WITH YOU FOR EVER MORE

HAPPILY EVER AFTER

 

I RETURN

I RETURN TO YOU

I LOVE YOU

I LOVE YOU SO MUCH

I WILL LIVE WITH YOU IN THE SEA

JUST YOU AND ME

  

Clearly the knight and mermaid are made for each other, seeing as they both share the same high propensity for alarmingly unabashed declarations of love and clinginess.

Leave it to K-1 then to turn the tables on romantic expectations.  And this was the one class I thought was going to end their fairy tale with a more typical marital happily ever after.  After all, their story started with a princess, and a castle guard secretly in love with the princess.  But she is unaware of his feelings or even who he is.

Suddenly a larcenous gang of witches attack the castle, which should provide the guard a textbook opportunity to prove his mettle and save the day and win the princess’ heart, right?

K-oz-the-great-and-powerful-trailer-26

Well, leave it to Kindergartners to take stories in unexpected directions…  Let’s start with the first song, which portrays the witches more like a gang of pirates or even bank robbers than magical broom riders:

Witches

 

A BAND OF WITCHES

ARE COMING TO THE CASTLE

A BAND OF WITCHES

ARE GONNA STEAL THE GOLD

AND THEY’RE GONNA RULE THE WORLD

 

A BAND OF WITCHES

ARE GONNA BLAST THE CASTLE

A BAND OF WITCHES

WILL BLAST THE DOOR OUT TOO

AND THEY’RE GONNA GO UPSTAIRS

 

A BAND OF WITCHES

ARE GONNA FIND THE MONEY

A BAND OF WITCHES

ARE FINDING THE CROWN TOO

AND THEY’RE GONNA STEAL IT ALL

 

A BAND OF WITCHES

ARE COMING TO THE CASTLE

A BAND OF WITCHES

ARE GONNA STEAL THE GOLD

AND THEY’RE GONNA RULE THE WORLD

 

During the first wave of Witches’ attack the guard is blasted off the castle ramparts into the ocean below (the castle sits on a cliff overlooking the sea, it appears).  The guard is about to drown when the water fairy shows up.  Her one magical power is the ability to manipulate water.  She says “Ocean, ocean, move to one side and let the guard remain alive”.

The guard safely returns to the castle and tells the princess of the water fairy and her magical powers, suggesting the fairy might help them deal with the witches.  But the princess isn’t sure the water fairy is trustworthy:

Water Fairy

(I love how this tune’s verse is like a 1960’s girl group ditty, and the chorus is like a 1980’s super intense super sincere hair metal band ballad):

K-0b33a8dd455b07b85542f68814412f28

I THINK SHE’S GOOD BUT WHAT IF SHE’S BAD

I THINK SHE’LL SAVE US BUT WHAT IF SHE DOESN’T

I’LL GIVE HER A CHANCE

I’LL GIVE HER A CHANCE

 

WATER FAIRY

WATER FAIRY

BAN ALL THE WITCHES

WATER FAIRY

WATER FAIRY

STOP THEM FROM STEALING ALL THE GOLD

STOP THEM TO SAVE THE WORLD

K-87129324-58acaad13df78c345b8b5b0f

repeat all above

 

The princess is no slouch.  She jumps into the ocean from the ramparts, risking death by drowning.  She too is saved by the water fairy magically moving the ocean to one side. Then the princess tells the water fairy about the witches’ attack and enlists her help.  The water fairy creates a massive foam of ocean bubbles that envelops the witches and traps them for the rest of their lives.

Once the Kindergartners had agreed upon that happy resolution, I asked what they wanted to do about the guard and his love for the princess.  Options were discussed and put to a vote and the upshot was that the guard decides he is not in love with the princess anymore and marries the water fairy instead.  Which led to K-1’s third and final song, which when I had to teach it to the class (at the top of my tenor range) felt like a Bon Jovi kiss off song, akin to “You Give Love a Bad Name”.  I mean, with lyrics like “Ooooo Yeah! Boo Yah!”, how could it not:

 

I Change My Mind

 

I CHANGED MY MIND

I DON’T WANT THE PRINCESS ANYMORE

I DON’T WANT TO MARRY THE PRINCESS

I CHANGED MY MIND

I’M GONNA MARRY THE WATER FAIRY

OOOOO YEAH

BOO YAH!!!

 

I CHANGED MY MIND

I CHANGED MY MIND

I CHANGED MY MIND

I CHANGED MY MIND

 

I CHANGED MY MIND

I DON’T WANT THE PRINCESS ANYMORE

I DON’T WANT TO MARRY THE PRINCESS

I CHANGED MY MIND

I’M GONNA MARRY THE WATER FAIRY

OOOOO YEAH

BOO YAH!!!

  

And thus we landed at the perfectly nasty rockin’ antidote to all that true love forever powerballadry from before…  A rather curious bit of connubial inconstancy and cynicism from a group of five year olds…

 

K-BonJovi

About dannyashkenasi

I'm a composer with over 30 years experience creating music theater. I'm also an actor, writer, director, producer, teacher and general enthusiast for the arts.
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