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RHS fine arts presents Christmas program

Many community residents were sad to hear the long-running Northwest-Shoals Community College production “The Legend of Toyland” wouldn’t be presented this holiday season, but the Russellville High School Fine Arts department is hoping to fill that void with their new Christmas show.
“ExtraOrdinary Christmas,” a professional-level production, will be presented at the RHS Auditorium at 7 p.m. on Dec. 14 and Dec. 15.
Joey Derr, who is in his first year as choral director at RHS, said the school hasn’t presented a Christmas program in a long time and the students were eager to do a high-level show that the entire community could enjoy.
“We have so many talented students here at Russellville who really look for ways that they can improve on what they’ve done in the past and step up their performances,” Derr said.
“When they expressed an overwhelming interest to do a big Christmas production, we dove right in to the planning process.
“We knew that Toyland wouldn’t be presented this year and we thought we might could fill that void and give the community a fun, holiday show that would be great for people of all ages.”
Derr said there were many things about the production that would make it a fun and exciting experience for the audience such as upbeat music, new sets, lighting effects, costume changes and choreography provided by Josh Davis from the University of North Alabama.
“This really will be a professional-level production,” he said. “The students have been working hard, staying after school and putting in lots of practice hours to make this the best show it can possibly be.”
Derr said the show would feature all students involved in choral classes and the RHS Show Choir as well as students who are in his art survey class.
“We wanted to involve a wide range of students and give them all some experience with a production like this,” he said. “Of course the choral and chow choir students will be performing, and many of them either have solos or are part of duets or quartets.
“My art survey students have been involved with T-shirt and ticket designs and they’re part of the production staff.”
Derr said they would also be involving members of the elementary and middle school choruses in two different songs, “Angels Among Us” and “Christmas Shoes.”
“There are so many people who have come together to be a part of this,” Derr said. “It has been a group effort and I’m very proud of all the hard work and dedication I’ve seen out of the students and even the parents. The administration has also been very supportive of what we’re trying to do.”
Derr said the song selections will be things just about everyone would enjoy like “Christmas in Dixie,” “Blue Christmas,” “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” “Feliz Navidad,” “Santa Baby,” songs from “How The Grinch Stole Christmas,” and “The Polar Express,” and, of course, many traditional Christmas carols.
“This will be a fun, family-friendly show that everyone in the community will enjoy,” Derr said.
“We think it will be a great way to bring the community together this holiday season to support our students and really get into the Christmas spirit. It’s definitely something you don’t want to miss.”
Tickets for the production are on sale now at Russellville High School, the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce in downtown Russellville and Valley State Bank’s main office on U.S. 43. Tickets are $8 for adults and $6 for students. Children who will not take up a seat can get in free.