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Performing arts group takes end of year trip

25 May 2016

Instructors, students and supporters of the Pratt Community College Performing Arts department took their annual end-of-year trip last week as the school year came to an end. This is the fourth year the department has organized this trip for students to Tennessee and surrounding areas for a week of music, entertainment and fun.

Twenty-nine students and 7 staff members traveled from Pratt to St. Louis and on to Pigeon Forge, Tenn. making different stops along the way and doing what they do best, performing.

“We try to make the trip a combination of musical performances and fun along the way,” said Misty Beck, performing arts instructor. “This trip is all about experiences and is really a "family vacation" to end the school year.”

Their first stop was in St. Louis where they visited the zoo and City Museum. The group also made a detour to Metropolis, Ill. known as the “home of superman.”

The rest of the trip was focused on the tourist towns of Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg located in the Smokey Mountains of Tennessee. There the students enjoyed two days at Dollywood to soak up some Blue Grass musical entertainment as well as a variety of other genres. The second day at the Dollywood the group was able perform for guests at the park. They also performed at the popular Country Tonite Show in Pigeon Forge on stage in front of a good sized audience.

“The experience was exciting and especially so for the students,” said Landry. “They had a huge stage to work with, rising curtains, lights and the audience really enjoyed their performance.”

Landry was invited to attend the trip at the beginning of the Spring semester and says that it was a great honor to attend and could not have had a better way to cap off 39 years of educating as she plans her retirement at the end of this academic year.

PCC freshmen Kaycee Rogers who is a member of Encore! says the trip was a valuable experience and she enjoyed getting to know her classmates on a deeper level as well as performing for all kinds of audiences on the trip.

“We sang God Bless America as our closing song in honor of veteran’s who are in the crowd,” said Rogers. “That was one of my favorite parts of the trip.”

While in Pigeon Forge the group also visited PCC alumnae Kellye Huesman who is now a professional performer along with her husband for multiple venues in the area.

“We are so grateful to all of the wonderful individuals and businesses who have helped us this year by coming to our shows, participating in our fundraisers, donating money, sponsoring shirts, buying us food and supporting us through your positive thoughts and encouragement,” said Beck.

Travelling back home the group stopped in Memphis for a tour and show at Graceland and spent time on Beale Street enjoying Blues music and a music history lesson then finished the trip Columbus, Kan. for an opportunity to sing at a Sunday morning church service and also at a care facility nearby.

“It was very inspiring and emotional,” said Landry. “I was impressed with the students and moved by a song sung by Misty and JJ.”
Overall the trip as full of fun and memorable experiences for students and chaperones.

“The choir and others in performing arts are my family,” said PCC student Keenan Stultz. “The trip was an amazing experience and I grew a lot in my performances as well as in my relationships with my peers.”

The Performing Arts Department at Pratt Community College performs a variety of shows and musicals throughout the year that students and community members participate in. During the summer the department organizes a Kids' Music Theatre Camp for community children who put on a musical at the end of the camp. This year Kids' Camp will be performing Honk, Jr. in June. For more information about the Performing Arts Department, please contact Misty Beck at mistyb@prattcc.edu.