LARGO – Blazing a trail into uncharted territories, Lewis and Clark, heroic explorers, opened the door to the settlement of the American West. But through a St. Petersburg College performing arts summer program, 25 talented young children discovered pure entertainment gold.
“The Adventures of Lewis and Clark” was presented by the Oakhurst College for Kids program July 9 to a packed cafeteria audience. With only 25 days to prepare and rehearse, Pam Lutgen, producer, said the great diversity of learning skills and experience of the children made for a huge challenge. They ranged from kindergarten to fifth grade students.
“The children were awesome, amazing, and we are very proud of them,” Lutgen said.
This is the fourth year Lutgen has facilitated the College for Kids performing arts summer program. She quickly offered all the credit to the volunteers and staff helping to pull the play together.
“I’m a very lucky lady,” Lutgen said about the volunteers and staff that pitched in. Even students from local middle and high schools got into the act.
Dottie and Ralph Wicklund were on hand to applaud their 9-year-old granddaughter, Erin Oteiza who sang in the chorus as well as performing as a speaker during “This is Our Home.” The Wicklunds were appropriately proud grandparents with Ralph commenting with a wink, “Erin is a pretty girl, taking after her grandmother.”
Through music and dance, the troop brought Lewis and Clark’s mission to life while learning about American history at the same time. It was a musical journey along the Oregon Trail with nine memorable songs and acts. Humor, dancing and singing were intertwined during the 45-minute expedition provided by student performers loaded with talent and enthusiasm.
“Every year I think we can’t do better than the last year,” said Lutgen. “But this year, we pulled it together very well.” The audience, families and children were treated to a well-deserved pizza and cake celebration after the performance.