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Smoke on the Mountain Homecoming a smokin’ good time – Performances start Feb. 22

By Staff | Feb 5, 2008

OKOBOJI — So when’s the last time you saw a good-old-fashioned musical that was appropriate for the entire family?

Or when was the last time you attended a spirit-filled gospel concert?

Well, you’ll get a good dose of both at the Smoke on the Mountain Homecoming, the third in a series of Alan Bailey musicals.

Lakes Community Theatre is performing the production Feb. 22, 23, 28, 29, and March 1 at 7:30 p.m. with a 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 24 matinee. The performances will be held at Pearson Lakes Art Center in Okoboji.

In the first Smoke on the Mountain, Pastor Mervin Oglethorpe, a young and enthusiastic minister, enlists the Sanders Family Singers to help bring his tiny congregation into the “modern world”. The second play, Sanders’ Family Christmas, takes place on Christmas Eve 1941 just before young Dennis Sanders ships off to join World War II. In both plays the family members “witness” or tell personal stories that relate to their trials of faith between Gospel songs.

Smoke on the Mountain Homecoming takes place two months after VJ Day on Oct. 6, 1945. The war is over, our boys are home, the Depression is a bad memory, and the Baby Boom has begun. This is the family’s first performance in four years in the Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church in Mt. Pleasant, N.C.

The cast includes seven lead characters played by Joren Morrison, Bill Carpenter, Jackie Carpenter, Ashley Ryker, Katy Burke, Ben Mauritz, and Sonny Koenck. Additional cast members are Karleen Noteboom, Karen DeVoll, Charlotte Roy, Barbara Lancaster, Neala Rinke, Carmen DeKoster, Rachelle Fratzke, Elaine Wallace, Barb Worth, Lee Fernstrum, and Forrest Forque. Musical director for the show is Gary Koelling with Charlene Radcliffe as pianist.

The show takes a nostalgic look at life for families during the time. Borrowing money was something that was previously unheard of, but now the government has been putting together a land acquisition program for families to be able to own their land they had previously rented.

In the musical, many old standard hymns are used to connect each family witness, with each member showing his or her love for each other and the love for the Lord. Some of the old hymns are “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms”, “Standing on the Promises”, “Shall We Gather at the River” and many others. Over 20 songs in all will delight audiences.

“It’s a wonderful family show, a good Christian show,” said Barb Worth, co-director. Worth said Smoke on the Mountain Homecoming depicts “the trials and tribulations of 1945 America.”

For ticket information, contact the Pearson Lakes Art Center at 712-332-7029 or buy tickets online at www.lakesart.org.

Contact Michael Tidemann at (712) 362-2622 or mtidemann@esthervilledailynews.com and visit our photo sharing Web site at cu.esthervilledailynews.com