Fairfield Ledger
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Neighbors Growing Together | Apr 23, 2014

‘Smoke on the Mountain’ in Eldon

Jun 04, 2013
PHOTO SUBMITTED “Smoke on the Mountain” tells the story of a Saturday night gospel sing at a country church in North Carolina’s Smoky Mountains in 1938. The show features two dozen bluegrass songs played and sung by the Sanders Family, a traveling group making its return to performing after a five-year hiatus. The Sanders Family is played by, from left, Brian Gentz (Stanley), Melinda Quinn (Ms. Maude), Kyle Roemerman (Rev. Oglethorp), Kami Milliken (Denise Sanders), Chase Kelly (Dennis Sanders), Dennis Willhoit (Burl Sanders), Kari Roemerman (Vera Sanders), Katlin Clemmons (Ellie Mae), Megan Bell (June Sanders), Dan Clemmons (Cousin Dan) and Jeanine Thornburg (Cousin Jean). The American Gothic Performing Arts Festival is presenting “Smoke on the Mountain” Friday through Sunday at the McHaffey Opera House in Eldon.

ELDON — The American Gothic Performing Arts Festival is presenting “Smoke on the Mountain” Friday through Sunday at the McHaffey Opera House in Eldon during the city’s annual Gothic Day Celebration.

“Smoke on the Mountain” tells the story of a Saturday night gospel sing at a country church in North Carolina’s Smoky Mountains in 1938. The show features two dozen rousing bluegrass songs played and sung by the Sanders Family, a traveling group making its return to performing after a five-year hiatus.

Pastor Oglethorpe, the young and enthusiastic minister of Mount Pleasant Baptist Church, has enlisted the Sanders Family in his efforts to bring his tiny congregation into “the modern world.” Between songs, each family member “witnesses” — telling a story about an important event in their life. Though they try to appear perfect in the eyes of a congregation who wants to be inspired by their songs, one thing after another goes awry and they reveal their true — and hilariously imperfect — natures.

The cast includes Dennis Willhoit as Burl, the father of the family and Kari Roemerman as Vera, the mother.

Their children are played by Megan Bell, with Kami Milliken and Chase Kelly as the twins.

Brian Gentz is in the role of Stanley, Burl’s brother. Kyle Roemerman is the young, enthusiastic Baptist minister. Dan Clemmons, Kaitlin Clemmons and Jeanine Thornburg are cousins in the band, and Melinda Quinn and Coleen Denefe are Miss Maude and Miss Myrtle, the church’s biggest benefactors.

The production is directed by Miriam Kenning with technical direction by Dale Dommer.

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