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The Adventures of Lewis and Clark: Blackwood School Uses Music to Teach Lewis and Clark History


The Triumphant Cast of The Adventures of Lewis and Clark, a musical at Blackwood School, Gloucester Township, includes eight "explorers" among named characters from the 1803 "Corps of Discovery". From left: Kneeling-Craig Pate as York, Stacy Holloway as Sacajawea, Dalton Townsend as "Scannon" the Newfoundland dog, Andrew Galligan as the interpreter Charbonneau. Middle standing-Jon-Michael Knapp, Sharon Fitzpatrick as Cassie the narrator, Chuck Ransford as Clark, John Huhn as Lewis, Stephen Bayer, and Daniel Axelson. Rear—Eric Mullin, Michael Watson, Kevin Davis, Stephen Hale, and Stephen Yurko. Adults in foreground are (l to r) Principal Dwight Counsel, honored guests Rose and Frank Muhly and music teacher and show director Patricia Patelski.

Book and music by Roger Emerson, John Jacobson, and Allan Billingsley. Book and music for the show available to teachers from Hal Leonard Corporation, at 7777 West Bluemound Road, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53213 . This purchase allows any non-profit organization to put on the show which comes complete with nine songs, and speaking parts for the story line, and suggestions for choreography. There is also a CD available with the basic music recorded.
(Photos by Norma Milner)

"CHARBONNEAU": The French interpreter, fur trapper and husband of Sacajawea is played with flair by Andrew Gilligan while carrying a paddle.

RECORDER ENSEMBLE performs under direction of music teacher Pat Patelski who has taught them the instrument and score.

"TUMBLIN' WATERS": A rippling parachute adds zest to song about the Missouri River.


An alert music teacher at Blackwood School in Gloucester Township, NJ read an Inquirer article about Frank Muhly and Lewis and Clark (Sunday, April 28). She immediately found him in the Philadelphia phone book and called. Her fifth graders’ musical on Lewis and Clark was coming up very soon. Patricia Patelski invited Frank and Rose to The Adventures of Lewis and Clark, and days later, Principal Dwight Counsel was proudly introducing the Muhlys to a gym-sized room full of students and parents as the musical opened.

Two students, Mike Watson, and Sunnye Bush, had made the program covers showing the explorers paddling and hunting, and a tribute to founder Frank and Rose Muhly was even included. It also mentioned that the Philadelphia Chapter of the Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation would hold its annual meeting in Philadelphia “in August, 2003, the bicentennial of Meriwether Lewis spending a ‘critical month’ in this city in the spring of 1803.” (The meeting will be at the Loews Hotel at 12th and Market.

The musical, with a cast of 121 from five fifth grades, was highlighted by Mrs. Patelski’s creative talents and ebullient energy. An amazing production, it is a good demonstration of an alternative method for teaching this history unit. Mrs. Patelski said that she got 15 copies of the book and music for the show from Hal Leonard Corporation, at 7777 West Bluemound Road, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53213 . This purchase allows any non-profit organization to put on the show which comes complete with nine songs, and speaking parts for the story line, and suggestions for choreography. There is also a CD available with the basic music recorded.

Here is a brief outline of how Mrs. Patelski “Proceeded On.” The addition of a recorder ensemble, drums, melody bells, and dancers were here own creative additions. She began to cast the show in the fall, allowing the youngsters to volunteer. In music class she introduced the CD. The classes sang all the songs together at first. Then she passed the microphone along to students to sing along, so she could get an idea of their singing ability. Students were then asked to list their “wish list” of who they would like to play. Then she videotaped them reading their favorite acting parts. “I had to read a lot of Lewis and Clark books to keep up,” she said. Undaunted Courage by Stephen Ambrose was a mainstay. She knew about the importance of Philadelphia because that was covered in the early part of that book, she said.

The story begins with a fifth grader, Cassie, played by Shaun Fitzpatrick telling her friend she had to write a history paper about the exploration. She then turns into a narrator of a sort of dream sequence of the expedition with episodes Lewis and Clark fans would know. The main characters and many of the other 121 presenters wore costumes of their own design. Lewis’s Newfoundland dog, Scannon in this play, tied the action together with a loud “Ruff” now and than and a rousing song called “Life’s Ruff.”

To give the show enough sparkle “to keep the first graders from stamping their feet too much,” Mrs. Patelski assigned many phrases in the songs to soloists who lent their talents to the lines. For one song, Tumblin’ Waters, the chorus circled a parachute and fluttered it while 10 “explorers” sang phrases of the song. Mrs. Patelski cheered especially for one of them, Durand Talley who met the challenge of his first singing role with zest!

Mrs. Patelski was particularly proud of the recorder ensemble. Since third grade, she has been working with students who chose to give up recess to learn to play, and with Latch Key students. She devised a recorder score using colors and fingering exercises.

Melody bells are also used in her classroom and added much to the performance. Meriwether Lewis was played by John Huhn, William Clark by Charles Ransford. Stacy Holloway was Sacajawea while her interpreter and trapper husband was played by Andrew Galligan, who carried a “family” paddle. York was played by Craig Pate, and the dog Scannon was Dalton Townsend. Members of the Expedition were Daniel Axelson, Stephen Bayer, Kevin Davis, Stephen Hale, Jon-Michael Knapp, Eric Mullin, Michael Watson, and Stephen Yurko.

Historic voices were heard as follows: Thomas Jefferson by Anthony Pickard; James Monroe by Jeff Smith, and Robert R. Livingston by Matt Tentnowski.

A notable song sung by Adam Kovnat as Napoleon Bonaparte was “Let’s Make A Deal”, adding some humor to the Louisiana Purchase. Sheryl Mangulabnan played a recorder accompaniment.

When asked if the classes had come to this phase of history in their studies, Mrs. Patelski said with a grin, “Not yet, but then, I’ve taught it already, haven’t I?


"OH THE JOY! Ocian in view!" Blackwood fifth grade chorus sings the famous words of William Clark from the Journals written as the explorers reached the Pacific.

HONORED GUESTS Frank and Rose Muhly watch attentively from their seats near director Pat Patelski.

SUCCESS! The Corps celebrates the end of the journey.


The Adventures of Lewis and Clark
by Roger Emerson and John Jacobson
Announcer- John Clark
CASSIE - Shaun Fitzpatrick
WILLIAM CLARK- Charles Ransford
SACAJAWEA- Stacy Holloway
CHARBONNEAU - Andrew Galligan
YORK - Craig Pate
SCANNON - Dalton Townsend
Members of the Expedition - Daniel Axelson, Stephen Bayer, Kevin Davis, Stephen Hale, Jon-Michael Knapp, Eric Mullin, Michael Watson, Stephen Yurko
1. THE BALLAD OF LEWIS & CLARK Amanda Weiss, Marquise Alford, Matt Scarlata, Kristy Manzo, Kaitlin Kopec, Ethan Chadwick, Danny Anderson, Anthony Clark, Tierra Blair, Andrew Seladones, Contessa Holley
THOMAS JEFFERSON - Anthony Pickard
ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON - Matt Tentnowski
Brittney Henry, Jon Davis, Lauren Nauss, Joey Falcone, Elizabeth Milicia, Zach Hemple, Kasheem Black, Jacky Wang, Caitlin Rutter
Recorder Player - Sheryl Mangulabnan
Soloist - Dalton Townsend
Drummers - Brittni Green, Leah Truitt, Andrew Jennings, Kevin Davis
Melody Bells - Samantha Shannon, Keith Bradley, Michael Righter, Melissa Jacobson, Ryan Hannon, Octavius Williams, Sara Pawloski
Narrators - Krishna Prabakatan, Sheryl Mangulabnan, Sunhye Bush, Devin Green
Soloists - Jaclyn DeCecco, Kiersten Scargill, Jessica Baker, Vanda French
Soloist - Bianca Stowe
Chris Kodrasoc-Wolff, Milana Hunter, Jay Curtis, Camille Holmes, Robert Glass III, Ryan Mitchell, Erin Killeen, Timmy Smith, Cory Patterson, Khya Mack, Turquoise Moore, David Clark
Soloists - Schuew Vang, Rajon Hughes, Ashley Mancine, Corey Rasmussen, Ashley Brown, Tyler Costill, Alexandria Davis, Alaina Julia, Durane Talley, Zakiyah Davis
7. O! THE JOY!
Soloists - Joleen Kavaliauskas, Alexus Joseph-Nix, Timmy Owoh, Dennis Day, Brittney Dinardo, Alexis Conway, Rachel Levin, Nichelle Jones, Jasmine Frarklin
Announcers - Kellianne Bond, Zach Lynch, Shamira Alford, Rebecca Lucas, E’vian Lindsey, Ariel Grandinetti, Ashley Callahan, Leslie Lafferty,Christina Capezza, Brittni Green, Megan Herrera, Lisa Kaighn
Dancers - Alaina Julia, Ashley Callahan, Rachel Levin, Dana McLarney, Orlando Martinez, Alex Smith, Mark Miniconzi, Matt Partyka, Matt Scarlata, Rupal Patel, Shawna Donaldson, Sonya Kiett-Turner, Jozalin Vega, Kate Nealon, Stephanie Williams, Dillon Baptiste, Josh Gil, Brian Battee
Researcher- Courtney Mayhew


Updated June 10, 2002