Song, dance and humor enjoyed at church

Published 2:06 pm Friday, September 3, 2010

Members of Helena United Methodist Church on stage during a musical performance.

Members of Helena United Methodist Church recently presented an energetic evening of song, dance and humor entitled “Thank You for the Music,” based on the song from the musical “Mamma Mia.”

“I’m always searching for a good title for the show and this seemed very appropriate since we are a volunteer group and we are so very thankful for the gifts God has given each one of us,” said Deb Scott, Director of fine arts and worship.

Singers and dancers ranging in age from 15 to 79 attended the 16 rehearsals. Mary Foshee was the show choreographer.

As Scott wanted to create a bridge between musical numbers, Julie English and Donna Cavanaugh put their heads together thinking to come up with short skits “a la Lucy and Ethel” and brainstormed into creation the “Senior Church Lady” persona enacted by English with great hilarity.

English studied the mannerisms of various church staff members and developed six dialogues playfully parodying Dana Garvey’s Church Lady and poking mostly gentle fun at these very recognizable personalities.

“People have always said they knew I was funny, but I have never thought of myself as an entertainer,” English said.

English manifested a deep Southern accent to interject, “Well, isn’t that special” — a catchphrase of Garvey’s — as well as other zingers cushioned with a velvety purr and eyebrows raised knowingly as she invited the audience in on a joke.

English, an administrative coordinator for Blue Cross/Blue Shield and youth volunteer at HUMC says in honest jest, “God gave me the gift of gab and I’m doing my best to utilize it to the fullest.”

The musical is produced every two or three years. “We’re not professionals by any means, but we have fun together and we try to use what God has given us not only as individuals, but as a group bound together through the love of music,” Scott said.

“These productions give me the opportunity to encourage people who claim they don’t have any talent. Watching their metamorphosis is something quite wonderful.”

Scott shares that, “I heard from one of my elder cast members that as a child growing up, she was never allowed to dance.

Then she married and hoped to dance with her husband, but he didn’t enjoy dancing.

So now in her senior years, she was dancing for the first time. She reminded me of a child on Christmas morning . . . all smiles!

Laura Brookhart can be reached by e–mail at