Three cheers for the red, white and blue

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 31, 2002

Hundreds of Butler County citizens enjoyed the perfect chance to show their true colors—red, white and blue, that is—as audience members at the multimedia musical extravaganza, "The Home of the Brave" last weekend.

The musical, presented both Friday and Saturday nights at the new Greenville High School auditorium, was free to the public.

The production featured rousing choral arrangements of many well-loved patriotic tunes, performed by the Greenville Area Community Choir. 13 area churches were represented in the 60-voice adult choir that ably performed the four-part harmony of David Clydesdale’s inspired arrangements.

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Many audience members could be heard singing or humming along to tunes such as "America, the Beautiful", "Yankee Doodle", "This Land is Your Land" and "You’re a Grand Old Flag" throughout the 90-minute performance.

The innovative musical incorporated inspiring slide photographs and stirring video images, projected onto a giant screen on stage, into the performance.

Masterful narrator Allen Stephenson was in fine voice, and choir director Tom Payne (assisted by Gary Stringfellow) performed double duty as both enthusiastic choir director and impassioned soloist (‘The Ones Left Standing’).

Other soloists appearing were Van Mote, Starla Jones, Wendy Snell, Sabrina Reynolds, Anne Blake Langford and Desmond Williams.

Mote also performed in a spirited ensemble performance with Pratha Harrison, Debbie Poff, Gerri Castleberry, Van Gillem and Gary Stringfellow.

The 46-voice ‘AmeriKids’ Choir brought smiles to faces throughout the audience and caused many a camera shutter to snap as they enthusiastically sang, many dressed in native costumes, cheerleading apparel or classic red, white and blue attire.

Actors in authentic period dress appeared as America’s brave founding fathers and intrepid explorers, sharing some of the very words once written and spoken by these true American heroes.

The many immigrants from faraway lands who sought out this land of opportunity were also represented on stage.

Members of all branches of the US Armed Forces appeared, as did uniformed firefighters and policemen, in a touching tribute to those who died heroically trying to save lives on September 11.

The GHS ROTC Color Guard, Boy Scout Troop 520 and the GHS Cheerleaders also participated. Tiger Band members Lacey Jordan and Thimothy Lewis performed ably on fife and snare drum.

Approximately 150 of the area’s children, teens and adults, both on stage and behind the scenes, played roles in bringing "The Home of the Brave" to life, creating a glorious belated Fourth of July present to all who attended.