Nation celebrated in a play |

Nation celebrated in a play

Merlyn Oliver, Tahoe Daily Tribune
Jim Grant/Tahoe TribuneDaniel Kagan, left, and Tarin Gniazdowski dance to Yankee Doodle at the LTCC Kids College Children's Theater presentation "We, the People" on Wednesday afternoon.

Country, culture and kids were celebrated Wednesday night in a sparkling patriotic variety show at Al Tahoe Elementary School.

“We, The People,” was put on by the children’s theater class as part of Kids College at Lake Tahoe Community College.

Working with more than 40 children ages 5 to 13 years, director and teacher Dee Petrell put the hourlong show together in five days. The sixth day was performance night.

“I’m real proud of the job they did,” Petrell said. “This has been a joy. The kids are awesome.”

Parents packed the sweltering auditorium, sitting on metal chairs and fanning themselves with programs as the kids danced, sang and marched their way through 200 years of American history.

Catherine Miller, who with her husband manages both Carrows Restaurants in town, was watching for her son Lance, 10, who appeared both as Abe Lincoln and as a swing dance partner in a World War II number.

“It’s a lot of fun and we had a good turnout this year,” she said. “Some of the high school kids who were in the show in years past came back to help Dee, so it’s really a community effort.”

One of those young adults was Petrell’s daughter Ashleigh, who stenciled white stars on her dark blue capris and sang the national anthem in a beautiful soprano. Joanie San Agustin sang “Amazing Grace” to whoops and hollers, as did Suzanne Joy, who performed “Wind Beneath My Wings.”

The show was endearing in its last-minute glitches. When an arm snaked out from the wings to plop a stovepipe hat on a waiting Abe Lincoln, the audience chuckled appreciatively.

The high point of the show came at the end, when Petrell took the stage and presented flowers to several South Lake Tahoe veterans.

“My daddy was on the Death March of Bataan and was a prisoner of war in the Philippines,” she said. “It almost makes me cry to present these heroes.”

Then she introduced Vincent Silva, 84, ironically also a Bataan survivor. Jack Tough, 81, served from 1942 to 1945 in Australia and New Guinea and landed in Okinawa. Ray Goodenough, 73, served in both World War II and Korea.

“It’s so great for the veterans to be recognized, ” Miller said. “It’s good to see them like this.”

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