Re-enactors Jessanna and Bailey Stein and their chicken Rosalind, greeted students in front of the Macktown Living History Center on Education Day, April 28. Each year children, teachers and chaperones are invited to spend the day prior to the Gathering weekend experiencing hands-on history about life in an 1840’s settlement.

By Marianne Mueller
Only seconds after the curtain rose audiences were hooked on Shirland School’s production of the Music Man Jr.Directed by Dawn Heavilin high energy performances were given by 60 students, ages ranging from third to eighth grade every students displayed great talent in unfolding this fun, lighthearted story on Thursday evening, April 20.
The Music Man is written by Meredith Wilson and Franklin Lacey. Much of the story’s action centers on Harold Hill who poses as a boy’s band organizer and leader who sells band instruments and uniforms to the naïve Iowa townsfolk, promising to train the members of the new band. As the story unfolded Townsfolk and audiences alike discover that Hill is no musician and plans to skip town without giving any music lessons. Mr. Hill helps her brother overcome his insecurity about having a lisp leading to a romance down the road with Marian.
Capturing the essence of the opening scenes based in Rock Island were salesmen, and newspaper readers, who started off the show with smooth flowing ease.
The Townspeople of River City were “Iowa Stubborn.” Mayor Shinn came to life through the talented Logan Bennett. Playing the Mayors daughter Eulalie Mackenzie Shinn was Marina Way. Way’s comedic flair generated great laughs as she coined the phrase, “E Gads.”
Enter Harold Hill who warned Townspeople, “Ya Got Trouble.” Xander Way hit the mark in every scene mastering great timing and subtle mannerisms of his character.
Moving into the next scene Marian and her Mother, Mrs. Paroo Marian’s love life is the main subject of discussion. Mrs. Paroo- the wonderful Allie Rowe advised in song, “If You Don’t Mind My Saying So.” Sixth grader LaylaQuillen fully transformed into Marian the Librarian. Qullien’s overall singing, dancing and acting talents shined.
Marian, Mrs. Paroo and Amaryllis (CloeScarpetta) performed smooth lyrics in the reflective song, “Goodnight, My Someone.”
Townspeople told the story of “Columbia, Gem of the Ocean.
Toe tapping fun was the result of Mr. Hill
For complete story, pick up this week’s print edition.