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Mayberry came to Brunswick County last Tuesday as Union Elementary School fourth grade presented the ninth annual production of “An Evening in Mayberry” at Odell Williamson Auditorium.
Former Union teacher Ellen Gordon wrote the play, which is based on the fictional town and characters of Mayberry. The plot revolves around a North Carolina state history school project. In turn, it showcases the actual fourth-grade curriculum taught in North Carolina public schools.
The songs and dialogue all teach important facts about the state of North Carolina, such as the capital city, state song, famous people in history, and participation in historical events.
The show’s directors—Sue Reeves, Union’s music teacher, and Sandy Raymond, curriculum specialist—said the show is not only important in reinforcing the state’s history, but also gives students with an artistic interest an outlet to express their talents.
“We have youngsters here who are stars,” Raymond said. “They may not all be on the honor roll, but they have found their talents in singing, dance, and on the stage.”
Students began learning the music in January, and auditions for speaking roles and solos were held the following month. Each fourth-grade class was featured in its own musical number.
“Over the years, the abilities of the youngsters varies,” Reeves said. “Everyone has put their own brand on their character and have made them grow.”
Reeves said this year’s students are some of the most talented, enthusiastic fourth graders to ever perform.
Union art teacher Deanna Inions designed the sets with the help of Alton Milliken and Bill Raymond who helped build the framework.
“There is nothing in the world that Alton would not do for those kids,” Raymond said.
Community support has been vital, Raymond said, as parents have helped with everything from costumes to odds and ends and Rhonda Benton, UES principal, helped collect funding for the show.
The very first cast of “A Evening in Mayberry” are now seniors in high school, and were all invited back to Tuesday’s performance.
“These kids remember this forever,” Raymond said.
Kathryn Jacewicz is a staff writer at the Beacon. Reach her at 754-6890 or at firstname.lastname@example.org