What does the Swedish pop group ABBA have to do with Christmas?
Some may say nothing seeing that the ABBA group, formed in 1972, never officially recorded any official Christmas songs.
However, last Friday, students of Windermere Private School successfully presented their Christmas Musical with an ABBA-themed nativity called A Bethlehem Baby Arrives.
The operetta musical, written and produced by Grade 5 pupil Erin Ramnarine-Misir was a hit. Ramnarine-Misir did research on ABBA, placed popular songs to fit the scenes and encouraged her classmates to dance as they did in the 1970s.
Hundreds of parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles attended the musical and joined in the singing and dancing as each class from Nursery to Grade Five performed.
The musical began with the two-year-old nursery students who were dressed in glittery gold. They dazzled on stage with their gold star sequined costumes led by their teachers Annisa Rampersad and Catherine Mohan.
Next, the students of Pre-Kindergarten One and Two sang one of ABBA's greatest hits Chiquitita while their teachers Narisa Lutchman and Sharon Remy directed them from the audience.
The audience applauded and sang along as the four-year-olds belted out the chorus, dressed as the silver lambs of the nativity scene.
Upper Kindergarten students also wowed the audience as they came on stage dressed as villagers led by their teacher Ruby Sirjusingh.
This was followed by soloist Elijah Phillip who performed the song Fernando, while the Grade Ones played the part of angels, Grade two performed as shepherds while Grade Three were dressed as soldiers.
The wise men of Grade Four brought gifts for the Christ Child while the Grade Fives played the key Nativity characters.
Ramnarine-Misir, the show's producer played Angel Gabriel while Ethan Smith played the part of the Innkeeper. He also performed ABBA's song Money, Money Money, after Mary and Joseph were led to the stable.
Principal Laureen Debance-Misir said the operetta was not just about a great musical but about realizing a young child's dream of writing her school's musical and actually seeing it produced and enjoyed by the Windermere family.
"It's also about spotting talent early and gently grooming it. None of our soloists has had any formal professional training -it was all spotted and careful nurtured at Windermere, giving them the opportunity to shine. Our dancers were also trained at Windermere and pushed into the competition and won! It's also about gently coaxing a shy Mary (played by Jessica Kelshall) into a starring role to bring out her confidence," Debance-Misir said.
She said the musical portrayed the Christmas Nativity and was done in the 1970's style exposing a whole new generation to the music their grandparents and even great-grandparents loved.
"Its been a super trouper moment. Our children shining like the stars, smiling, having fun, feeling like a number one," she said, quoting from ABBA.
The musical ended with the final song 'Thank You for the Music'.
- by Radhica De Silva. Photos by Kristian De Silva.