Triple talents were being honed at Trinity United Methodist Church this week.
The church offered the “Shining Light Performing Arts Camp” for middle- and high-school students from 6 to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday. It includes a 7 p.m. showcase finale tonight open to family and friends of the performers and to the general public.
“The goal is to help kids find their talents and use them for the glory of God,” said Dane Christensen, the church’s chancel choir director and Central City choir teacher who taught singing this week.
Rev. Theresa Mason, who has a PhD in theater arts, wrote skits and provided instruction in drama.
Church member Sheere Gleason taught dance along with Gloria Craven.
Christensen said the drama was centered around Genesis and the dance incorporated ballet, jazz and liturgical dance.
“It’s our first year and I’m excited about it,” Mason said. “We believe it’s a great way to show God’s love through the performing arts.”
Grand Island Senior High sophomore Nandi Kumondan thought so too.
“I like getting to sing,” she said. “When you’re on stage and singing you feel so empowered — the strength in my voice — it feels good.”
While Kumondan has been a part of show choir at GISH, not all schools have a full offering of choir opportunities.
Ariana Ahlers said she’s excited to begin seventh grade at her junior high in Oklahoma because she will now be able to be in choir, but visiting family in Nebraska this summer and being part of “Shining Light” gave her a head start for school this fall.
“I like the music and how they are teaching me how to harmonize,” she said. “To use my alto voice to harmonize with the sopranos.”
All 13 students in “Shining Light” — all girls — spent about an hour working on vocal music each evening, then took a break before getting instruction on either dance or drama.
The performing arts camp also included ice breakers, snack time and social time.
“We are really happy and crazy and have fun,” said Nora Gangra, an 8th graders at Walnut Middle School.
The girls also have mentor helpers, sisters Hannah and Lauren Post. Hannah was a part of Northwest High School 14 Karat Gold singers and is soon off to Midland University in Fremont. Lauren sang at York College.
“Watch Lauren,” Christensen told the girls as he pulled Post out in front of the group as she sang. “Watch the expression — in her eyebrows — in her eyeballs!”
The girls giggled a bit, but saw how engaging expression is for the audience instead of burying their own heads into their sheet music.
“Copy and paste Lauren’s face. Copy and paste,” Christensen said.
Kumondan said her favorite part of the performing arts camp was being selected for a solo in “When I Close My Eyes.”
The performers will be featured at the 7 p.m. showcase Friday night in Gollaher Chapel at the church at Fifth and Elm streets.
They will also perform during the 11 a.m. Sunday service and have been invited to sing at the Neighborhood Night Out event at the church at 6 p.m. Tuesday.