‘50s performers play at Mesa Elementary

Marlena Hartz: Freedom Newspapers

A guitar slung over his shoulder and musical legends at his side, Fireballs member George Tomsco sung to a frenzied audience.

“It’s awesome,” Kelsey Foster, 12, said during the performance. “Yeah, it’s pretty cool,” her friend Jamie Malone, 11, shouted.

During Tomsco’s Friday morning performance, the two sixth-graders danced on the gymnasium floor. They did the twist and the mashed potato like a couple of pros, along with hundreds of other students. “We learned from old 50s movies,” Malone and Foster said, out of breath, big grins on their faces.

The Fireballs and other 50s icons performance marked the end of the school’s week-long crash course on the 1950s.

“We realized that a lot of the kids don’t know about the rich musical history we have right here in Clovis,” said Mesa principal Jan Cox, just a little girl when Norman Petty produced a string of hits at his Seventh Street studio.

“Some really outstanding legends recorded here,” Cox told students.

Tomsco and company really couldn’t have asked for a more receptive audience.

First-grader Trenton Putt, and his first-grade friends, weren’t shy about their admiration.

“Oh whoa,” said Putt, 6, when Buddy Holly drummer Carl Bunch said hello to the crowd.

Putt said he spent the week learning about records and old cars. Some students memorized the words to hits such as “Everybody Should’ve Lived in the 50s” and “Peggy Sue.” When the inspiration for the song walked in, cheers ripped through the gymnasium.

“The thing I learned this week is that even though we couldn’t live in the 50s, you could probably dream about what it was like,” said demure six-year-old Desiree Ford, dressed in a plaid skirt and white bobby socks, the outfit her own small tribute to the era.

The Mesa cafeteria will be remodeled. It will be a more permanent tribute to the 50s, Cox said. The principal said Mesa staff collected 50s memorabilia. Behind the scenes, they are framing pictures and getting the cafeteria ready for its transformation, said Cox.

“We hope to have it all ready as a Christmas present to the kids,” Cox said.