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Last days of music and dance
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The sound of musical medleys resonates through the Porter Auditorium of Newton High School. Girls and boys of the Arts Association of Newton County's Musical Theater Camp practice for their performance on Friday, July 20 at 7 p.m.

Running its second year, the Musical Theater Camp began on July 9 and will end with their performance on July 20.

We hope to "give the kids a focused experience that allows them to explore the different types of musical theater genres, dancing and singing- all the different parts of what it takes to put together a musical," executive director of the Arts Association of Newton County Buncie Hay Lanners said.

Fourth through seventh graders practice from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and eighth through twelfth graders practice from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., overlapping two hours to practice their opening numbers.

Students will perform a musical medley of songs with some narration from musicals such as Hairspray, South Pacific and The Sound of Music. Admission is $5.

There are 53 students enrolled in the camp, an increase from 30 students last year.

Not only do students practice their musical numbers, but they also learn different musical techniques such as keeping the tempo and matching pitch.

"I have learned a lot of dance, music theory, how to audition and how to be professional," Sarah Williams, 18, said.

For 15 year old Retreca Dudley, dance is her favorite part.

"You get to learn new dances- ballet one day, jazz one day."

Students who have no experience with musicals are encouraged to join as well.

"We can really be ourselves. We don't have to worry about what others think" Jaya Narvil, 13, said.

The camp is run by a team of directors. Mary Lynne Luke is the musical director, and Jay Tryall is the drama director. They both direct the Oxford Singing Children and Oxford Youth Singers.

Peter Swan and Ashley Lazenby Swan, the artistic directors of the Covington Regional Ballet Academy, are the dance instructors.

Lanners appreciates the dedication of the directors.

"One of the hallmarks of all of our programs is the quality. This camp has brought together all of our artistic directors. They are the highest quality teachers, directors, and choreographers. It's been a wonderful experience for the kids, for me to see all the directors to work together for this camp" Lanners said.