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Harrisburg group celebrates their faith in the footlights - abc27 WHTM

Harrisburg group celebrates their faith in the footlights

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At the Harrisburg Christian Performing Arts Center, it's a non-stop atmosphere of song, dance and faith. It is 50 years of introducing the gospel to teens in a welcoming fashion.

"It really just felt like the way we could reach the most people," said Rosie Turner, HCPAC's Youth Director, "and do the most good was to invite them into our doors in a way they were excited about, and that was the performing arts."

The center's roots stem from the Youth for Christ organization which focused on religious rallies, sports and performing groups. Today, the interdenominational center produces ten to twelve plays and musicals a year. They range from faith-centered performances to well known Broadway shows. In addition the center offers dance classes and acting workshops.

For those with theater in their future plans, it's a great place to hone their talent.

"You learn a lot about different theater things," said 14-year-old Mikala Haulman. "And you just learn a lot about putting on a show and being with your friends and having a fun time and fun experience."

For some in the troupe, the center is almost a second home.

17-year-old Brendan Mcalester says the center's productions and people make it hard to leave. "As much as I tell myself I need to build my resume and go out somewhere else," he said. " I'm always thinking 'okay, after this show I will go out and find a new theater,' but I always do that show and come back."

As part of its 50th year celebration, the center is hosting a one time showcase, featuring current students and alumni performing highlights from many of its past shows. In the meantime, a challenging rehearsal schedule is keeping directors and performers on their toes.

"You can see the kids who come in here for whatever reason, then they leave here a stronger person. And that's what keep them coming back." said Turner.

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