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Springfield Middle School students travel to Atlanta to perform at Junior Theater Festival

February 10, 2013
  • Students from Springfield Middle School in Williamsport traveled to the 2013 Junior Theater Festival in Atlanta.
Photo courtesy of James Barker

ATLANTA — Students from Springfield Middle School in Williamsport earned national recognition at the 2013 Junior Theater Festival, the world’s largest musical theater festival, which took place Jan. 18  to 20 in Atlanta.

Produced by New York’s iTheatrics and Atlanta’s Theater of the Stars, the festival celebrates young people and the power of musical theater. This year’s festival brought together 4,000 students and teachers representing 82 groups from 23 states. 

Springfield Middle School students presented selections from Disney’s “The Little Mermaid JR.” for adjudication by dancer, choreographer, theatrical producer and Butler University and Anderson University professor Kenny Shepard and actor, composer, musical director and vocal coach Brad Simmons.

Springfield Middle School students Trenton Gross and Kaitlin Murphy were named to the Broadway JR. All-Stars, made up of two outstanding students from each group at the festival. The all-star students performed the song “Oh, Bless the Lord” from “Godspell JR.” at the closing ceremonies.

Springfield Middle School’s drama program supports a hands-on theater experience for schoolchildren. Each production is entirely put together by students, from the performing cast to the backstage crew.
They also help design everything, from props and costumes to the Playbill-style program.

Students elect to take this class in the eighth grade, and for many, this is their first experience in the theater.

The program works to instill a strong work ethic for its participating performers. Often happening after daily classes, the students’ rehearsals require the hard work and dedication needed in order to create a strong theater production. Certain students are rewarded through their selection for certain shows.

Seventh-graders who demonstrate outstanding talent are chosen to be a part of the drama class’ annual spring production.

This is the fourth year that students from Springfield Middle School attended the festival. At the 2012 festival, Springfield Middle School students performed songs from Disney’s “Mulan JR.” for adjudication. Student Julie Smoot earned a Freddie G Outstanding Achievement in Student Direction and Choreography Award.

At the 2011 festival, the group presented Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast JR.,” and student Ayse Yilmaz won a Freddie G Outstanding Female Performer award for her performance.

In 2010, the troupe performed songs from Disney’s “High School Musical JR.,” and won a Freddie G Outstanding Student Direction and Choreography award for student directors Hailey Bricker and Hope Wolford.

Following are the students from Springfield Middle School who traveled to the 2013 festival:
Makenzie Brown, Cody Crawford, Amanda Curry, Becca Davis, Emily Ernst, Britany Forrest, Trenton Gross, Kirsten Hewitt, Meghan Kline, Cassie Lavin, Alexis Lohman, Eryn McVicker, Hanna Moser, Kaitlin Murphy, Lexie Robinson, Julia Rockenbaugh, Alyssa Shoemaker, Maria Startzman, Kristy Tarner, Grace Wolford and Emma Whitmore.

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