Arts, alive and well in Harrison County

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By Becky Barnes

As I sat in the audience at Cynthiana Baptist Church Sunday afternoon, waiting for the Licking Valley Singers to take the stage, I thought about some of the Broadway songs I remembered and silently hummed.
I knew that Don Johnson was going to be opening up with “Ol’ Man River.”
My interviews with Dr. Beth Laytart and Karen Bear gave me a heads up there. I also had some impromptu reviews from family members who attended the Friday night performance.
From the moment Don reached to his toes to pull out the first bass note to the conclusion 70 minutes later with a Rodgers and Hammerstein medley, I was mesmerized.
These 44 voices were local people. They weren’t from Cincinnati or Lexington. They were from Cynthiana, Berry and Leesburg.
And, wow, what a performance.
For just one night a week, over the course of a couple of months, these people came together to share something they enjoy ... singing.
I thoroughly enjoyed my afternoon ‘On Broadway’ and I anxiously await the fall concert presenting ‘Songs of the Silver Screen.”
Hmmm. What will they be? Guess we’ll find out together when the Licking Valley Singers again claim the stage on Nov. 8 and 10.
Last weekend’s concert will be followed this weekend by The harriCYN Theatre’s presentation of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird.’
I was able to get a sneak peak of the first act this week during a dress rehearsal at Rohs Opera House.
Were these performers really the same people I see day in and day out in their day jobs?
I was totally captivated by the performers as they brought their characters from Harper Lee’s novel to life.
I was never much of an actor. So, I truly respect those who can and do.
To Kill a Mockingbird takes place in Alabama in the 1930s. It brings the timeless problem of racism from a little girl’s mind to her views as an adult.
Nell Anne Gossett and her granddaughter, Liza Jane, are such a believable duo as the young Scout and Jean Louise that you are quickly swaddled in the story.
I hate that the high school no longer had a school play. I rarely missed a production. On the other hand, the entire community is grateful to The harriCYN Theatre’s commitment to taking up the slack.
This production has been under the direction of Becky Smith. Bill Caywood has directed previous performances.
Kudos to all of the performers who have given us a cultural shot in the arm within a week of each other.
Each of the actors and singers, set designers and sound men have truly outdone themselves.