News Column

4-H Performing Arts Troupe forms family traditions

June 12, 2014

By Cristina Drey, American News, Aberdeen, S.D.

June 12--Thirty-one years is a long time -- long enough for participants in the South Dakota 4-H Performing Arts Troupe to create family traditions.

For the Sperry family, of Bath, it all started in 1990 with Kathy Sperry. In the beginning, Kathy would support the troupe with whatever help it needed, including costume changes, until 2002 when her role became more official as a member of the newly formed 4-H Performing Arts Committee.

The committee has four members who do the planning and organizing for the troupe. One of those activities includes a preparation camp, which is taking place this week. Kathy's sons, Michael, 19, and Matthew, 15, are the fourth and fifth siblings in their family to participate in the troupe, which is for those 12 to 19 years old.

This is Michael's sixth and final year. He will be going out with a romantic bang, glasses and all.

"For one scene, I am a geek that manages to find true love," said Michael, who plans to attend the University of Mary near Bismarck, N.D., with a major in biology.

His younger brother, Matthew, is in his second year and has been watching the troupe since he was a baby.

"It's a lot of fun to meet people from all around and see them at other events," Matthew said.

Callie Mickelson, 14, of Herreid, is the fourth of four siblings to be involved in her longstanding family tradition.The first of her siblings began participating in 2004.

Mickelson, too, grew up in the background of troupe singing and dancing.

"I was just waiting for the year I could go," Mickelson said.

Thane Henschel, of Britton, 15, and Isabelle Dickey, 15, of Brookings, not only share a passion for being involved in the arts but also share several personal aspects as well.

Henschel's mother took part in the troupe five years after it began in 1988 -- and Dickey's stepfather participated in the same year.

Forming an even closer tie to each other and Aberdeen, the two were both born in Aberdeen -- one day apart.

"I'm one day older than you," Dickey, who was born on July 9, told Henschel, while laughing and joking about how they more than likely shared the same nursery in the hospital.

No matter whether members of the troupe has previously active family members or personal connections with another, Kathy assured they all leave the troupe year with a little extra than what they came in with.

"These kids become like a family," Kathy said.

This year's Troupe will perform "Broadway Bound," a combination of songs, dances and monologues from 14 hits from Broadway around the state throughout the summer. Tonight, they will hold a freewill donation performance for the public at 7 p.m. in the Krikac Auditorium on the Northern State University's campus.


(c)2014 the American News (Aberdeen, S.D.)

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Source: Aberdeen American News (SD)

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