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May 7, 2014

Entertaining recollections

THOMASVILLE — When the curtain comes down on the Thomasville Music & Drama Troupe’s  41st annual Spring Show this weekend, the group of singing teenaged entertainers will be saying goodbye to 17 graduating seniors, several of whom took a break from long rehearsals this week to reflect on what troupe involvement has meant to them.

Hannah Beshears, a senior at the Thomasville High School Scholars Academy, recalled words of wisdom from the troupe’s founder and director emeritus Fred Allen: “There is no art without discipline.”

“I have seen this… Balancing high school course work as well as extra-curricular activities has not been easy, but nothing can get done without discipline,” Beshears said.  “Whether it’s writing an essay or working on a group dance, discipline is critical, and Troupe has taught me this well.”

Lauren Mobley, who will graduate from Cairo High School later this month, said, “The experience and training I’ve gained from troupe has been incredible.”

Calling the troupe “a major part of my life since seventh grade,” Brookwood School senior Alex Carico noted the relationships the group afforded him with students from other school systems and even other communities served by the regional non-profit youth performing arts organization.

“I’ve made friends with people that I would have otherwise never known,” he explained, as members put aside their school rivalries to work together for a common goal.

Thomas County Central High senior Afrika Davis agreed that her troupe years have been positive for that same reason.

“I met a lot of nice people and made a lot of new friends,” Davis said.  “Really, I’ve made a new family through troupe.”

Thomasville High School Scholars Academy seniors Annalee Jackson and Meme Hand have had similar experiences since joining the group in seventh grade.

“Troupe’s sense of community and friendship has been an amazing experience that I am so grateful to have been a part of for the past six years,” Jackson said.

“I’ve had so much fun being in troupe these past six years,” Hand concurred.  “My favorite part has been getting to hang out with my friends during Troupe Week.”

The graduating seniors are looking forward to their final troupe show, set for 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, as both a bittersweet experience and the culmination of years of great memories.

“As we approach our last show, I think of all the loud bursts of show tunes from the dressing rooms and all the fun ensembles I participated in,” Mobley added. “Being in troupe has meant the world to me.”

“I’m excited about the show, but, at the same time, it’s kind of sad that it will be my last performance,” Davis noted.

“This weekend, I will be leaving it all on the stage as the final curtain falls,” Beshears said wistfully.  “However, another curtain will rise as I begin a new role in my life.  Troupe has taught me many things that will carry me throughout my college and life experience.”

“I will truly miss the feeling of accomplishment and warmth after singing the troupe’s theme song alongside my peers after a great show,” Jackson said.

“It’s going to be a bittersweet ending,” Carico agreed, “but these last shows are going to be ones to remember!”

This year’s show features a special spotlight in recognition of the 50th anniversary of The Beatles’ arrival in America, showstoppers from Broadway musicals like “Cabaret,” “Newsies” and “Purlie,” with a nod to troupe director Raymond Hughes’ opera background with compositions by Verdi and Gounod, plus a variety of pop and rock hits from the past.

New this year, young participants in the troupe’s performing arts outreach collaborative with the Marguerite Neel Williams Boys & Girls Club of Southwest Georgia will be performing a medley from “Rock and Roll is Here to Stay” as part of the show.

Throughout the show, high spirited dance and group choreography add additional sparkle and pizazz to the performance.

Tickets remain on sale at Hick’s Clothing Co. in downtown Thomasville, with both reserved and general admission seating available at the Thomasville Municipal Auditorium.  Tickets will be available at the auditorium box office on show nights as well. For more information on show tickets, contact Lori Choate at (229) 224-0350.

 

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