A week-long musical production camp at Faith Lutheran Church, Coon Rapids, culminated in a performance Sunday during the morning church service.
Under the direction of Elaine Johnson, who heads the church’s music ministry, kids from kindergarten through eighth-grade spent a week learning and rehearsing the show.
“It was beautiful,” Johnson said. “It could not have gone better.”
“We had a responsible group of kids, who took their parts seriously, enjoyed participating and mentored and encouraged each other.”
The Sounds of Praise Summer Production Camp, as it was called, presented “Spend Awhile on the Nile.”
The musical written by Christy Semsen is set on a boat taking a trip up the River Nile.
Capt. Cruise, the boat’s captain, and his daughter, Liza, retell Bible stories, but there’s a problem, according to the synopsis.
The stories about Moses, Joseph and the Pharaoh are all incorrect and it takes the kids from Ocean View Church who are on board to set the record straight and help Mr. Cruise learn the real truth about God’s enduring love and faithfulness to His people, the synopsis states.
According to Johnson, this was a Monday through Friday morning camp for students who have completed kindergarten through first-grade and an all-day camp for children who have completed second- through eighth-grade.
The kids were “invited to spend a week together with friends learning, preparing and celebrating the message of the Christian musical,” Johnson said.
“We learned songs, created props, discovered sign language, rehearsed drama, dance and movement, designed costumes and shared daily lunches, crafts, recreation and laughs.”
This was Johnson’s 17th summer musical production camp, her sixth at Faith Lutheran Church. Before coming to Faith, Johnson directed camps at Lord of Life Lutheran Church in Ramsey.
According to Johnson, while Semsen wrote the musical specifically for kids with its upbeat songs, it was both entertaining and educational as well as an adult learning experience.
Two of the student performers were Josiah Nelson, 14, who played Capt. Cruise, and Brooke DeBaker, 12, who took the part of Liza.
This was the third year that Nelson and DeBaker have taken part in the musical production camp, but this was Nelson’s last camp because he has completed eighth-grade.
He attends PACT Charter School, while DeBaker will be going into seventh grade at Northdale Middle School.
“It’s a lot of fun with all the people here,” DeBaker said. “This is something I like to do.”
In his three years in the summer musical production camp, Nelson said he has made a lot of friends and he will miss that.
“And it’s been fun acting and singing,” he said.
For both of them, the camp has also brought to life and enabled them to learn about various aspects of the Bible, they said.
Cast members included Nelson, DeBaker, Hope Ollanketo, Lindsey Fields, Hannah Bump, Kolton Ascheman, Nicole Post, Jackson Dokken, Allison Knott, Angela McMahon, Kylie Rasinski, Lily Tooker-Kirkevold, Lexy Tooker-Kirkevold, Alexis DeChaney, Anna Haas, Isaac vanWestrienen, Emily Kokett, Avery Kokett, Carly Cederstrand, Carissa Roell, Audrey vanWestrienen, Julia Dutton, Bella Sciara, Ava Sciara, Emily Sass and Savannah DeChaney.
The production crew included Debra Henning and Lacy Tooker-Kirkevold, drama directors; Trisha Maust, musical assistant; Kallie Jo Ascheman, dance; Caroline Henning, sign language; Sarah Anderson, scripture; Cyndy Nelson, props; Lisa Ascheman and Erica Halek, crafts; Lacy Tooker-Kirkevold, recreation; and Gary Johnson, sound.
“We had a wonderful group of volunteers,” Johnson said.
Peter Bodley is at [email protected]