Go see Sanders Family Christmas this weekend

img_1993Laughter, tears and bluegrass gospel music will make for a “down home family Christmas” at the Montgomery County Performing Arts Center this weekend.

“The show is very funny without being ‘slapstick,’’ said Dr. Reba Bailey, director for the Sanders Family Christmas. “And it will bring tears to the eyes without being ‘sappy.’”

The Sanders Family Christmas performances will be at 7 p.m. Dec. 9 and Dec. 10, and at 4 p.m. Dec. 11 at the Montgomery County Performing Arts Center in Downtown Winona. Tickets are $20 at the door. $15 in advance with all proceeds going to the Montgomery County Arts Council.

img_1972Sanders Family Christmas is the sequel to Smoke on the Mountain. The show is set in a small Baptist Church in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina on December 24, 1941.

img_2007America is going to war and so is Dennis Sanders of the Sanders Family Singers. This is their last performance before the war forces the group to disband. The performance is 18 days after the bombing of Pearl Harbor and Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s declaration of war. With the United States in direct involvement in battle at Christmastime, houses are crammed with kinfolks as family members come together from far and wide to celebrate what might be their last holiday together.

img_2001The sanctuary of Mount Pleasant Baptist Church is also packed full for the special Christmas performance of The Sanders Family.

The production is filled with hilarious and touching stories and 25 Southern Gospel Christmas favorites.

img_2029But the Montgomery County version has a few surprises for the audience.

img_1969“I wanted to bring more mainstream plays to the Arts Center in order to expand acting challenges,” Bailey said.

img_2031And she is doing just that through this production.

“I love the cast because they are all young people playing older parts,” Bailey said. “The youngest is 13 and the oldest is 26. They are all very energetic and have quickly learned dialog and all of the music.”

img_2024Bailey said it is important to her to match the right part to the right actor, taking into account variations of personalities. She said the right actor plays the right part. Makeup and costuming can alter physical characteristics.

img_2002That is why the character of Burl Sanders, who is a 40-ish year old man, is played by a 26-year-old woman. His wife, Vera, is played by a 13-year-old girl.

“I love that this is a young cast,” said Paula McCaulla, executive director of the Montgomery County Arts Council. “I also love the music and I think everyone will love this play.”

img_2023Cast members include: Austin Prudhomme, Christina Russell, Kayla Braswell, Jake Corello, Mason Rosamond, Natalie Rosamond, Gracie Kilburn and Aiden Kilburn.

img_2015For more information or to purchase advance tickets, contact members of the Montgomery County Arts Council, or contact the Arts Council at (662) 283-3750 or (662) 417-3429 or email hillfire@bellsouth.net. The Montgomery County Performing Arts Center  is located at 208 Summit Street in Winona.


See this story in the December 8, 2016 edition of The Winona Times at http://winonatimes.com/winona-slideshow-carrollton-slideshow-lifestyles/down-home-christmas#sthash.udHxzo27.dpbs




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