Fourteen-year English class tradition continues
Every year Greg Stobbe’s freshmen English class reads Animal Farm by George Orwell. In order to honor this classic piece of literature and have a little fun along the way, the class annually parades the halls of FC singing the novels anthem, “Beast’s of England.”
This tradition has been in place for 14 years and continues to escalate in sound and intensity each year and the May 8, 2014, version is now a memorable reminder of novice know-how.
However, this year will be the last year that Stobbe teaches freshmen English and perhaps the last round of “Beasts of England.” Stobbe however, will continue to be journalism adviser at FC. He says that this activity was meant to inspire students to join a cause as well as demonstrate the power of unity.
“As this is my final year teaching English for the foreseeable future, I was really hoping the classes would understand what they could accomplish by getting together and singing this song,” Stobbe said. ‘While this is just fun and games, it does give the students a sense of what it would be like to gather together under a cause. These two classes are probably the strongest ever, which is why I had to put them together.”
Unlike previous years Stobbe choose both English classes to participate in the Beast of England chant. The event was made into a competition to find the loudest and most enthusiastic class. Freshmen English student Katie Jacobson says that the competition between the two classes aroused anxiety as well as friendly rivalry.
“The competition between fourth and seventh period freshmen English was very intense,” Jacobson said. “When Mr. Stobbe announced that both classes would parade through the classrooms, Room 623 erupted with shouts of joy and excitement. I believe I speak for my classmates as well when I say how anxious we were for the next day.”
The 2014 version of the Beasts of England chant was unique in that it included musical instruments for the first time, including a bass drum, cymbals, shakers and a Glockenspiel. According to Mathew Garza the instruments were generously lent to the cause by Music Director Michael Ogdon. Students came equipped with vibrant animal costumes and their various instruments, May 8. English student Karagin Udall admits that she was initially embarrassed at being so loud however she eventually warmed up to the idea and enjoyed it.
“I felt embarrassed,” Udall said. “People laughed and took videos. I forgot the words and so I mumbled quietly to myself as I tried to just get through with it. But after awhile I realized I wasn?t alone. The whole class was singing and dancing around then I got more comfortable and didn?t want it to end.”
The group also visited the junior high and performed before the future high school students. Zack Passamore enjoyed the confusion and amusement the junior high students drew from their arrival. He says he was inspired to sing louder in front of them.
“During the performance I saw some people screaming their hearts out,” Passmore said. “The pure confusion on the 7th grader faces when they saw Stobbe in the middle on his knees made me sing louder. The symbols and the drums nearly made the room shake. All of the animal hats also added to the feel of the room.”
Among many it is estimated that this year?s English class was the loudest and most enthusiastic yet, history department head, Kori Friesen, says that she was taken aback by the sheer intensity of the group’s voices.
“They were all very flamboyant,” Friesen said. “Being my first year seeing the Beast of England performance, I couldn?t help but notice how over the top the whole thing was. It was very loud you could hear them coming down the hallway from far away.”
Freshmen participant Nick LeBlanc says that he received several compliments about his class? performance. And despite initial concerns, he admits that he enjoyed the assignment.
“Throughout the day and even the next day, I heard people talking about our song,” LeBlanc said. “I hear people say that we did a good job and we were very loud. I also heard that we were the loudest in a long time and we had the most heart. I think that it was a good assignment.”
For more information on the Beast of England tour, be sure to watch the freshman practice in The Beast are back in 2014 or the 2013 version as the ‘Beasts of England’ entertains campus classrooms (VIDEO). Each of these also have links to previous years’ mayhem.