By RICK CURL
AND TOM WOERNER
Of The Record Staff
After nearly a month’s delay, Harnett Off Broadway resumed Thursday night on the stage at Triton High School.
A threat of school violence forced the postponement for the final two installments of the annual stalwart, but the re-slated performances weren’t dampened by the delay. The Western Harnett and Overhills attendance area students performed at an earlier date at Overhills High School.
On Thursday it was the Triton attendance area which took center stage.
The night began with a few words from Harnett County Schools Superintendent Dr. Aaron Fleming, who called it a special program.
“This is a showcase of our performing and visual arts,” he said. “They are about to put on a wonderful show.” The night began with the Jazz Ensemble from Coats-Erwin Middle School. They wowed the audience with their rendition of “The Chicken” by Alfred Ellis with an arrangement by Mike Story.
From there it was a trip down memory lane for many in attendance, thanks to the creativity of Gentry Primary and Coats Elementary schools. Gentry Primary brought the crowd to life with a combination of Disney songs titled “Mickey Mouse Mash-up” then followed with “The Jungle Book’s” most famous tune “The Bare Necessities.”
Coats Elementary kept the Disney theme going as they took the audience through many Disney musical hits with their “Disney Spectacular — A ‘Minnie’ Melody” that featured songs from motion pictures produced by the mouse-led company.
Harnett Primary School shifted attention to friendship as they performed two songs, “Love Makes A Friend Be A Friend Like You” and “One Call Away.”
Then it was Wayne Elementary School’s turn to show off its talents. Using ribbons and dance, they presented “Shooting Star” followed by “You Raise Me Up.”
The Dunn Middle School Chorus presented a traditional version of two songs, “Count The Stars” and “Elijah Rock.”
Next it was the Erwin Elementary School presentation of two songs from the Broadway hit musical “Annie.” First, they wowed the audience with their rendition of “Tomorrow” followed by “I Think I’m Gonna Like It Here.”
Thursday’s performance was capped off by the host Triton High School Showstoppers.
Their performances of “This is Me” and “Someone In The Crowd” were highlighted by dancing duos and solo performances.
Triton students Jamie Cole and Alexa Parker served as masters of ceremony for the event.
The second night of the performances of the weekend, and the final one for the school district, featured students in the Harnett Central attendance area.
One of the best-known choral groups in the region started the night, with Director Devin Hocutt leading the Harnett Central High School Choral Ensemble on to the stage. The group, which recently excelled at a competition in Georgia, started the night by singing the “Star-Spangled Banner” and then performed two songs as part of the program.
Soloist Mya Amerson had some members of the crowd on their feet clapping along to her fast-paced beat of a gospel tune followed by a classic originally performed by the group Manhattan Transfer.
The show then transferred from the high school students, to the youngest ones in the district with North Harnett Primary students taking the stage. North Harnett students played bells and sang along to two classical music selections.
Always popular, patriotic songs were the featured theme of the Buies Creek Elementary students who took to the Harnett Off Broadway stage next. Their section of the show started with a lively rap routine followed by a tribute to those in the military service and the uplifting “God Bless America” finishing the act. The tunes drew a standing ovation from the capacity crowd.
The crowd found themselves in the middle of one of the most popular movies of all time when Lillington-Shawtown students performed a medley of tunes from “The Sound of Music” under the direction of popular music teacher Kathy Sutter.
Angier Elementary students, dressed in the school’s familiar purple and gold, sang three musical selections under the direction of Ashley Musgrave. Their act was complimented by several students twirling ribbons along to the beat of the music.
LaFayette Elementary students and teachers chose a pirate theme for their performance. The group, complete with original outfits, beards, eye patches and other accessories, performed three songs in their routine and had the crowd laughing throughout the act.
It was Harnett Central Middle School that wrapped up the night of quality entertainment as the school’s choral ensemble made their way on to the stage. The students sang two songs to wrap up the night.
As has become tradition, two students from Harnett Central High School took the stage as masters of ceremony. Those duties were handled by Cole Long and Souyma Varma.
Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources Monica Thompson greeted the crowd.
“We are pleased you chose to join us for this celebration,” Mrs. Thompson said.
The newest part of both nights’ celebrations was held prior to the show starting in the Triton High School auditorium. That is when career and technical education students, along with robotics and Lego League students in younger grades, demonstrated what they have learned throughout the year.
Marlee Bourey, the technology facilitator at Lillington-Shawtown Elementary School, directed students in their robotics demonstration.
“It has been an experience doing this for the first time,” she said. “We have learned a lot.”