Kids theatre program delighting Fresno families for 10 years

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There are 32 First Church Christian Academy students learning and performing the sound of music. (KFSN)

A Fresno elementary school's theatre arts program is celebrating 10 years in action.

From production to performance, the show must go on.

"They do the full musical, build the sets, work on the costumes, they're involved in the whole production," teacher Michael van Buren explained.

There are 32 First Church Christian Academy students learning and performing the sound of music.

"When they come here, they're terrified of this whole prospect performing and speaking in front of people but when they leave they know they can do it," van Buren said.

Ranging from 6th to 8th grade, students in the theatre program are learning more than the arts.

"They learn to work together to support each other," van Buren said. "It's a real growth experience for them."

And it's an experience that even acts as a history lesson.

"It's kind of crazy," student Zeke Fuller said of his role. "Why does a normal Austrian family have to hide from Nazis?"

Fuller plays Captain Von Trapp in a play.

He's realizing this is his final performance with his classmates, just weeks away from graduation.

"It's a little sad because I've been a part of this for so long it's going to be tough coming back here and watching," he said.

He and fellow cast mate Olivia Konda have taken on the extra role of mentor.

They're passing along their expertise to the younger classes to keep the programs legacy strong.

"I think that they can take it on they can make it great," Konda said.
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