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RES presents holiday musical

By Staff
Kim West
Nearly 200 Russellville Elementary fifth graders performed "Santa Knows Best" in front of a packed house at the Russellville High School Auditorium Monday morning.
The humorous holiday musical, which starred Cameron DeArman as Santa and Emili Crummie as Mrs. Claus, was originally scheduled for Dec. 12, but it was postponed due to the icy and snowy weather last Friday.
But the postponement did little to dampen the enthusiasm or whimsy displayed by the RES students, who began rehearsing in September.
The play, which included the 56-member RES chorus, was directed by first-year choral teacher Lauren Stroud. The show featured eight songs performed by a variety of elves, Santas and other holiday characters, including audience favorite Uncle Beatnick, who was played by J.J. Johnson.
This was the second straight year RES has performed a holiday play, but this year's performance differed from the traditional versions performed in the past.
Stroud said she watched her mentor, Harlan Elementary choral teacher Charlotte Estuv, direct "Santa Knows Best" while she was attending the University of North Alabama, and knew it would be a good fit at RES.
"I chose 'Santa Knows Best' because I knew it could be done, and I loved the characters in it," said Stroud. "It's very unique and funny, and I like doing something different – this was more of a musical than a play.
"Everybody worked so hard on this, and I think the students really enjoyed it. I'm sure they were tired of practicing, but I would still hear them in the halls singing the songs."
Claudia Askew, assistant principal at RES, commended both the students and Stroud on their performance.
"It was very funny, and I thought our fifth graders and Ms. Stroud worked very hard on this," Askew said. "They all did a great job."

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