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GFW students present ‘Lion King Kids’ June 24

Staff photo by Fritz Busch Gibbon Fairfax Winthrop Children’s Art Camp student Wil Schmidt (Timon), left, of Winthrop and Kalli Aden (Pumbaa) of Gibbon rehearse for the performance of “Lion King Kids” Wednesday in the middle/high school auditorium. The group performs the show at 4:30 p.m. Friday, June 24 in the auditorium.

WINTHROP — Gibbon Fairfax Winthrop Middle School students are presenting “Lion King Kids” in the school auditorium at 4:30 p.m., Friday, June 24.

Thirty-five students attended the free, two-week children’s art camp funded by an $8,000 grant made possible by Minnesota voters through a Prairie Lakes Regional Arts Council thanks to a legislative appropriation from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.

Camp director/choreographer Mandy Blumhoefer said this was T-Bird Community Arts’ fourth year of the children’s camp. The first year included stations that students rotated through to get them exposed to different aspects of theater.

Students performed a mini-musical “Alladin Junior” the second year of the camp. Last year, students performed “101 Dalmations Kids.”

“I picked out “The Lion King” show after talking with director Gwen Ruff about which show would be fun for the kids to do and we landed on it, said Blumhoefer.

“Some kids chose the behind the scenes (camp) track, creating and designing sets, helping with choreography, running sound and lights in the tech booth and helped on stage with scene changes,” she added. “Kids in the performing arts track sing, act and dance on stage.”

Students practiced three hours daily for two weeks.

The performance lasts about 45 minutes. Admission is $5 for attendees over age 5. Those age five and younger have no admission charge.

Performing arts participants include narrator Shaylah Clobes, Haley Strain, Rafiki; Cooper Foss, Mufasa; Keely Hlinsky, Sarabi; Quinn Schmidt, Zazu; Ashley Voss, Scar; Alex Vos, Young Simba; Avery Rieke, Young Nala; Imani Prigge, Shenzi; Jacob Stoll, Banzai; Anika Beckendorf, Ed; Josie Schwarzrock, Sofia Nachreiner and Kaylie Benner, hyena/elephant; Wil Schmidt, Timon; Kalli Aden, Pumbaa; Issac Vos, Older Simba; Savanna Sweely, Older Nala.

The animal ensemble includes Xavier Cohrs, Joslyn Schwarzrock, Kenny Duncan, Lily Jaus, Kaylee Jaus, Veda Nelson, Annabelle Brockberg, Sophia Benner, Mirra Sjogren and Tristan Clobes.

Isaac Beckendorf, Kelston Larabee, Ella Nachreiner, Miley Odegard, Donald Cole, Jocelyn Jaus and Isabelle Vos worked behind the scenes.

Lynnae Grack is musical director; Kylie Rieke, set designer.

The Lion King is a 1994 animated musical drama film produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation and released by Walt Disney Pictures.

Its original songs were written by composer Elton John and lyricist Tim Rice, with a score by Hans Zimmer.

Set in a king of lions in Africa, “The Lion King” tells the story of a young lion who is to succeed his father.

It finished its theatrical run as the highest-grossing film of 1994 and second-highest grossing film of all time, behind “Jurassic Park” (1993).

It is still the highest-grossing traditionally animated film of all time and the best-selling film on home video, selling more than 55 million copies worldwide.

(Fritz Busch can be emailed at fbusch@nujournal.com.)

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