Press release written by:
Kristina L. Hendrix, APR - ALCA Public Relations
256-777-9414 - firstname.lastname@example.org
The compelling story of Trinity School, founded in 1865 by white northern missionaries for the education of freed slaves, takes the stage on Feb. 3rd in a dramatic musical production that is informative, uplifting, entertaining and inspiring. Arise and build returns by popular demand after last February’s four performances were sold out, leaving many unable to obtain tickets.
Directed by newly elected Athens City Councilman Frank Travis and produced by Carolyn Williams, Arise and Build is framed by the fictional Fletcher family (played by Denver Betts, Cynthia Hines, Rebecca Brooks, and Jaylon Hammonds) planning a trip back to Athens to attend a function at patriarch James Fletcher’s alma mater. Mr. Fletcher’s reminiscences take his children (and the audience) on a voyage from 1865 and the founding of Trinity by Mary Fletcher Wells (played by Judy Harvey and Terri DaCruz); to 1879 and the foundation of the Trinity School Society for the purpose of making brick for a new school; to the meeting of three early Trinity graduates (Fisk Jubilee Singer Patti Malone, played by Angela Hughes; Lavinia Harris Williams, Trinity’s first African-American teacher, played by Tanya Townsend; and career educator Alice Vasser LaCour, played by Keona Shoulders) to eulogize their principal’s death in 1892.
As the Fletchers continue their time-travel, we meet legendary principal Louise Allyn (played by Jackie Jackson) and teacher Mary Perkins (played by Kay Burlingame), Trinity’s two longest-tenured educators, and hear their accounts of school burnings, trips into the countryside to visit students’ homes, and the effects of World War I upon life at Trinity.
One scene, warmly received by last year’s audiences, depicts 1940 graduate Robert Penn, who walked 60 miles a week to and from school, staying after-hours to earn his tuition. Penn (played by James Lane) describes movingly how principal Allyn “commissioned” her students to go out and improve the lot of their own people. Under her influence, Penn became a probate judge.
The highlight of the production comes as the cast gathers on a Depression-era Sunday at Trinity Congregational Church (founded by Miss Wells in 1871) where the visiting Sister Lucy Dimwitty (played by Mary Freeman) blows them away first with her humor, and then with her singing voice. A special feature of that scene is the song, Somethin’ ‘Bout Sunday Morning, written by Jerome Malone, brother of Bryant Malone who is Arise and Build’s musical director, leading the approximately 30-member chorus in stirring spirituals like Oh, Mary Don’t You Weep and Motherless Child that hearken back to Trinity’s early days.
This year’s two new cast members, Tiffany Malone and her daughter Janaya, are also a part of the Malone musical legacy known nationwide for gospel a cappella singing.
Performances are set for 7 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 3; 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 4; and 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 5, at Friendship Church, 16479 Lucas Ferry Road. Tickets are $25 each, available in Athens at The Sweetest Things Tea Room, 216 W Market St., and Square Clock Coffee, 121 S Marion St.; in Tanner from Head 2 Toe Salon, 19785 Huntsville-Browns Ferry Rd.; and in Huntsville from Verge Beauty Salon, 6140 University Drive, Suite F.
Proceeds benefit the Trinity/Fort Hampton Complex. For additional information, contact Carolyn Williams, Production Manager: 256-777-9727