Getting kids to show up for school on a Saturday — in the summer, no less — usually isn't an easy task.
But when word got out that country music superstar Toby Keith wanted to film part of a music video at Shorewood's Lake Bluff Elementary School and was looking for students to be part of it, there was no problem youngsters to show up.
Sixteen kids recited the Pledge of Allegiance about 10 times flanked by cameras shooting footage for Keith’s next video, "Made in America."
The filming kicked off Friday night at Keith’s concert at Summerfest, and the entire video will be shot in Wisconsin.
The song is about an old farmer who loves America and “spends a little more at the store for a tag in the back that says, ‘Made in the U.S.A.,’ ” as the lyrics go.
“It’s nostalgic of people believing in America,” explained Mark Kalbfeld, producer of the video.
The song will be the first single off of Keith's next album, but he already has performed it live, including at the CMT Music Awards show in June. The song is already a hit with audiences and on the Internet, director Mike Salomon said the crew is rushing to get the video together.
Salomon grew up in Whitefish Bay, and suggested Milwaukee be the setting for the video since Keith was already scheduled to perform at Summerfest.
“I always wanted to come back and shoot at home,” Salomon said. “In a way, I’m trying to capture my own youth and memories here.”
Salomon is a lifelong friend of Shorewood School Board member Michael Mishlove, who suggested Lake Bluff for a scene they needed to shoot in a classroom. The crew liked the setting and quickly spread the word to get local kids there.
During Saturday's filming — Keith was not in attendance — an actress playing the farmer’s wife, a patriotic teacher, lead the students in the pledge and taught them about the stars and stripes of the flag.
Not professional actors, the kids often got antsy reciting the pledge so many times. But first assistant director Stanley Morse, said their distractions added authenticity to the production.
“That’s the beauty of finding realism,” he said. “Their attention wanes, and that’s more like real life, so it’s great. I give them an A+.”
The footage will correspond with these lyrics: “He loves his wife. She’s that wife that decorates on the Fourth of July but says, ‘Every day’s independence day.’ She’s golden rule, teaches school. Some folks say it isn’t cool, but she says the Pledge of Allegiance anyway.”
The crew will be shooting the rest of the video at a farm in West Bend, at the Cedarburg Parade, and at Milwaukee’s firework display.
Salomon said the video should be done in about two weeks.
Listen to the song and read the lyrics here.