Friday, November 4, 2016

Halloween 2016

Grade 9 Classroom Door.
An elementary school door.
The spirit of Halloween was in full swing during the remaining days of October.  High school students & teachers were asking me what costume I would be wearing this year and my answer every time was, "Wait until the assembly.  I don't want to spoil it for you."  Indeed, I spent quite a few days researching a lot of costumes on the Spirit of Halloween website.  The only clue I gave everyone was that the costume would be scary.  (My costumes have been getting progressively scarier every year).  

An elementary school door.
K-9 classes finished decorating their classroom doors on Halloween Day (October 31).  I photographed all the creative, scary, and crazy designs.  I wasn't sure which class would win the award for best decorated door.  The decorations were all good.
My drummers were ready for their first public performance.  We practiced several times in the gym, getting used to the sounds of the drums in the a wide & tall open space. 

Media Room door.
All Halloween activities in Arctic Bay were postponed until November 1 due to a tragic & traumatic event that occurred last week.  A former student of Inuujaq School tragically took his own life.  (The reasons for this tragedy won't be disclosed on this blog out of respect for the individual and his family).  The funeral was held at the community hall on October 31.  Many teachers, including myself, attended the service.  The building was packed with family members and people who came to say one last goodbye.  He was laid to rest at the cemetery on the west side of town.  This is now the third student I have lost to suicide.     
An elementary school door.
The Halloween festivities at Inuujaq School began on the afternoon of November 1.  Lunch was extended by 30 minutes to give everyone enough time to change into their costumes and come back.  I borrowed a coworker's SUV to quickly drive home and get my costume.  I thought about wearing my costume on the way back to school but my mind quickly reminded me that the mask obscured my field of vision.  I changed into my costume when I arrived at the school.

The drummers & I moved all the drums, music stands, hardware, sticks, and our repertoire down to the gym.  Teachers, students, and parents slowly trickled into the school while we were moving everything.  They looked at me in amazement as a I walked by.  I knew my costume was a hit.  The only issue I discovered was that the rubber mask was causing me to sweat.
Everyone assembled in the gym at 1:30pm for the start of the assembly.  I walked into the gym, dressed as the Grim Reaper.  My costume consisted of a large hooded robe, a rubber skeleton mask with a wide smile, skeleton gloves, and black boots.  I also carried two plastic machetes that bled fake blood.  I was going "all-out" this year.

The Grim Reaper.
The assembly began with the costume contest.  Each class walked around the centre of the gym, showing off their costumes.  A chosen panel of judges watched from the front of the gym.  I led the brave high school students around the gym.  The kids really liked the bleeding machetes.  I'm sure many pictures of the Grim Reaper were taken.

Snare line

The assembly continued with the drum line concert.  I performed with my drummers, playing the snare drum in the middle of the line.  I could tell my drummers were nervous, but so was I.  I just reminded them how concerts usually go: play (music), switch (music), wait (until audience stops clapping), & repeat.  My drummers & I played four pieces for the audience.  They were: Rock You We Will, Earthquake, BioJam, and Texan.  All were composed by Cassidy Byars.  I found his website on the Internet when I first started the drum program in 2013.  The pieces had plenty of variety in them, ranging from catchy beats to simple stick tricks.  The audience loved them all. 

The concert continued with two of my drummers performing solos on the quad drums & snare drum.  Just as I was about to say that we were done, the principal instructed me to do a solo.  I hadn't prepared one, but with the audience demanding one more performance, I decided to make one up on the spot.  I counted myself in and played whatever came to mind.  If anything went wrong, I could just say that it wasn't me but the Grim Reaper that made so many mistakes.  My solo was just a minute long, but I finished it with one of my favourite stick playing visuals and a loud, accented end stroke.  (An end stroke is just one note).  The audience applauded and I took a bow.
I helped the drum line pack up all the drums & equipment while the winners of the costume contest were announced.  We waited until everyone left the gym before moving everything back to my classroom.  I took off my mask and wiped all the sweat that had formed inside.  I personally thanked each drummer for a great performance. 
Activities for K-9 classes were held after the assembly.  The high school students hung out in my classroom eating candy and watching scary videos until everyone was dismissed at 3pm.  Many people told me they liked my Grim Reaper costume.
Trick-or-Treating occurred from 5 to 7pm.  I got out all the boxes I purchased in September and filled two large metal bowls with candy.  I unlocked my front door, sat in my costume, and waited.  A steady stream of people came to my door for the next two hours.  My mask scared several little kids.  Sorry.  Everyone came for candy; even teenagers & adults.  I gave out 4 - 5 pieces to each person, but I still had plenty left over when trick-or-treating came to an end.  I changed out of my costume and walked down to the community hall for the annual ugliest costume contest.
Ugliest costume contestants.
The contest is divided into two groups: 12 & under, and 13 & over.  The aim of the contest is to create the best ugliest costume the audience and judges have ever seen.  Contestants show up to the community hall in costume because you have to keep your identity secret until the very end.  I sat at the back of the hall and photographed the contestant.  Their costumes were . . . unique.  Contestants just find whatever they have in their houses and put them on.  I could spend an entire blog post describing what the costumes looked like, so I'll just let the attached pictures "do the talking."
Skull TV.

The contest began with the 12 & under contestants.  They stood up and paraded/danced around the community hall.  A local resident used his newly purchased drone camera to capture the parade from above.  He did a good job controlling the device.  I filmed the two-minute parade.  The 13 & over group was next.  They did the same as the previous group and I caught it all on digital film.  I had no idea who was wearing what costume. 


D. Shooyook wearing the black robe &
sunglasses costume.
The winners for the 12 & under group were: D. Shooyook (third place), K. Oyukuluk (second place), and S. Attagutaluk (first place).  The winners for the 13 & over group were: H. Qavavauq (third place), S. Taqtu (second place), and E. Natanine (first place).  The winners received cash prizes.

K. Oyukuluk.
S. Attagutaluk
H. Qavavauq

S. Taqtu

E. Natanine

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