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Students get vocal about Quonochontaug

August 27, 2011

Photo By ANTHONY aRUSSO The majority of the cast onstage singing "Tradition" during the opening scene of Quonnie: The Musical, Friday, Aug. 20, at the Quonochontaug Grange in Charlestown. The cast members are all wearing shirts the read "Quonochontaug," the name of their beloved village, across the front.

CHARLESTOWN - It is not often that a group of children can educate a room full of adults, especially when it comes to the deep-rooted history of a colonial village. However, that is precisely what happened at the Quonochontaug Grange on Friday, Aug. 20.

It was the first ever showing of Quonnie: The Musical, a light-heated look at the history of Charlestown’s village of Quonochontaug. The show included seven scenes and a finale, all of which featured an original song, and it was performed by the children of the village.

Most scenes were based on actual events that shaped the history of the Quonochontaug. Scene two depicted the purchase of “Quonnie” by Englishman Thomas Stanton, played by Hugh Walsh. He bought the area from a con man posing as a Niantic Indian chief, played by Jacob Freedgood, in 1665.

Some other scenes were not focused on history so much as they were tradition, which still exists today. One of these traditions, depicted in scene three, is the naming of specific rocks in Quonochontaug. This scene featured the appropriately titled tune “Rocks of the Quonnie.”

Scene six depicted another local tradition, this time focusing on food. The scene featured a full-cast performance of the song “Eat, Rhode Islanders, Eat,” which served as a tribute to foods specific to the Ocean State, like cabinets and Johnny cakes.

All of the scenes produced loud laughter and heavy applause from the assembled crowd of just over 100 people. They were animated and high-spirited, filled with clever jokes and witty dialogue.

Eden Casteel, the writer and director of the show, sat to the side of the stage playing the piano throughout the performance. She said that she got the idea for the musical a year earlier when she had a conversation with another Quonochontaug mother about ways to keep the kids busy over the summer.

For more information, pick up a copy of The Chariho Times.

Southern Rhode Island Newspapers
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