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Dorothy's 'over the rainbow' at Mt. Juliet Christian

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The "Land of Oz" will come to life soon at Mt. Juliet Christian Academy with the drama department's presentation of "Wizard of Oz."

This year's drama class is the biggest ever at the Christian school with more than 50 students, according to Beth Davis, the school's Fine Arts director.

The elaborate play will take place April 17 and 18 at 7 p.m., and April 19 at 2 p.m. This is the second play of the year and is part of the school's expanding Fine Arts Program that has a myriad of offerings.

Davis said another first for MJCA is the progress toward an official Fine Arts Booster Program, whereby the club can raise funds to further enrich offerings at the school.

Expanded Fine Arts Department

Davis said there are several reasons the school has expanded the Fine Arts Program.

"Well, first we are a Christian school, and we want to glorify God through music," Davis said. "Music is such a focus in the Bible. Whether it be through drama or music, we need to support and teach it."

Additionally, music study is associated with stimulation of the brain that enhances science and math scores, Davis noted.

"Plus, not everyone is an athlete," Davis said.

The healthy fine arts curriculum at MJCA includes general music for grades second through fourth; recorder and advanced recorder; beginning band; drama; and visual arts, among others. High schoolers have the option of drama; choir; show choir; band; pep band; and chapel praise band. There's also a guitar and strings program.

End of year spring concert

On May 8 the school will present an extraordinary school-wide spring concert and visual arts exhibit. Davis said this will be "spectacular" and "not like anything we've done before." The focus of the concert will be an homage to Irish music. In addition to the concert, 25 students, grades kindergarten through twelfth, will Irish step dance.

"Members of the National Irish Step Dancers have come to teach our participating students how to step dance," Davis said.

They learned and practiced for a couple of weeks in preparation. Nashville Pipes & Drums will also perform with "their resounding bagpipes." The Nashville Flute Choir will be on hand and perform with the students while they play their recorders. This event has the elementary and secondary students' talents combined.

Wizard of Oz first treat

However, the school's Theatre and Choral Director Kim Overstreet said the first treat for the community will be their presentation of "Wizard of Oz." Overstreet has taught in this position at the school three years. This year is the largest class on record at 56, and each and every student will take part in the production that's a first for the school.

"They've been preparing for this presentation the past four months," Overstreet said.

There was an extensive audition process to select the cast. And Toto wasn't forgotten in the process. Playing Toto is Benji, a Dotson/Yorkie mix.

Overstreet was a drama student at the school at one time and starred in multiple plays. She said things have changed a bit since then. There's a brand new sound system, and they were able to rent the backdrop for this play and the school now has a "lift" for that.

"It's going to be so realistic," Overstreet said.

Serena Campeau, a junior who plays the Scarecrow said, "'The Wizard of Oz' is such an amazing story. It's a privilege to be a part of it and work with such an amazing and diverse cast."

The costumes are handmade by Overstreet's mom, Marsha Lynn.

"This is going to be phenomenal," Overstreet said. "Many grew up watching the 'The Wizard of Oz,' and now they can experience it live in Mt. Juliet. We want everyone to come out. The kids have had a wonderful time getting ready for this, and they have amazing enthusiasm and talent."

Tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for children. The proceeds go back into the department. The play will take place in the school's gym.

"Come out and see 'The Wizard of Oz,' because Dorothy really brings down the house!" Peyton Raymer (aka the Wicked Witch of the West) said. MJCA is located at 735 North Mt. Juliet Road.

Writer Laurie Everett may be contacted at laurieeverett1@gmail.com.

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