Budding writers of poetry and song were treated to a workshop with performance group The Fugitives this week. Four talented performers led the students in activities from slightly improvised poetry composition to musical deconstruction, a few hours before taking the stage and performing an evening show for all students.
The Fugitives, recently nominated for a Canadian Folk Music Award, held a workshop mainly for AP Writing and Writing 12 students, but any and all creative individuals were welcome. The first half of the session focused on poetry and the expression of emotion. The students were given the first few words of a poem that set them up to establish a metaphor. To make the exercise even more challenging, the vehicle of the metaphor had to be one of several objects the performers brought with them.
After five minutes of crafting verse, a few students presented their poems and received feedback from both their classmates and the guest teachers. Next, the group moved into song-writing.
“Everybody listens to music,” says performer Mark Berube. After getting the students to list the various components of a song, from melody and rhythm to tone and delivery, Mark and musician Steve Charles played them a six-verse song on the accordion and guitar respectively.
“The less music, the better,” says Mark. “It’s important to give space for the lyrics to be heard.”
The next challenge was for the students to write lyrics that would work within the structure and form of the song played. Grade 9 student Megan Parker was the first to present her alternate verse, which was well-received by her audience and her encouraging accompanying musicians.
At the end of the afternoon, the visitors congratulated all the students on their quick writing and their courage to perform. Fugitive Barbara Adler declared, “You guys rock!”