Ucluelet Glee Club co-founder Courtney Johnson is promising West Coasters they will be wowed by a wonderful display of local talent during the program’s spring finale production this weekend.
“This is like nothing you have ever seen. I absolutely promise you that. It will blow you away,” Johnson said. “You will be really amazed at what you have to see.”
About 35 Glee students will join members of the Tofino and Ucluelet Choir, Ucluelet Elementary School students and local ballet dancers for two performances of ‘Ukee’s Greatest Showstoppers’ at the Ucluelet Community Centre on June 7 and June 8. Doors will open at 6 p.m. with performances at 6:30 p.m. each night.
Johnson wrote the script as a spinoff of the film ‘The Greatest Showman’ and she’s encouraging all attending to dress up in circus-themed attire.
She added the performances will also serve as a send off for the program’s graduating students.
“One of the things that I’ve noticed ever since I started doing this program is how important it is to children to know that their community cares about them and that they are part of something greater than themselves,” she said.
She added that honouring the graduates will help them understand the impact they’ve had on their community and will show the younger students how supportive their community is.
“They’re going to feel that much more supported and that much more sure of themselves in a world where, let’s be honest, a lot of people graduating and going out into the world don’t feel so certain of themselves,” she said.
“They need to know that they’re valued and that they matter so that when they go out and live they can go out and live with purpose.”
The Glee Club has been a triumphant source of new confidence for young West Coasters since the program’s inception in 2012 and Johnson has been delighted to have a front row seat to watch her young pupils discover new talents and greater self-worth.
“I’ve had kids that have started that wouldn’t even talk on stage, they’d hang out in the back, and now they’re singing solos,” she said. “One of the greatest things about this program is that kids get to discover a talent that they didn’t even know they had. They’re really amazed at the things they can do…The other thing that they do is they end up supporting each other. They work on lines with each other and they talk with each other about what they can do to make a scene better. It’s really interesting.”
Johnson herself has been thrilled with the support the Glee program has received and how much love she’s felt in her community’s embrace. She noted that embrace has helped her push through after her daughter tragically died six years ago.
“I have to say how grateful and honoured I am to work with all of your children because there’s a lot of growing up experiences that I’m obviously going to miss with my own daughter, because I lost her and I can’t think of a more wonderful community or group of people to share all of those growing up moments with in her stead,” she said. “That is really important to me. I always want people to know how much this program matters to me because I know how much their children matter to them.”