“Hephzibah Rolls Out The Red Carpet” was the theme of their 31st annual talent show held May 19 in the Oak Park and River Forest High School auditorium.

Playing to a standing-room-only house, the eight Hephzibah-run District 97 after-school programs had been practicng for weeks on their song-and-dance routines.

“The children love the chance to show off what they can do, and the parents really love watching the children perform,” said Janice Kurvcar, Hephzibah day care social worker. “I go to all the schools, so I have been watching them practice, and it is really fun.”

Velyn Reed, who has worked for Hephzibah for 21 years, said, “This may be the only time in their lives that some of these children have the opportunity to do something like this. It’s a great idea for both the children and their families.”

Reed said each school’s staff comes up with ideas and works with the children on the skits as well as the costumes. “My program is at Whittier and we had the boys wear 1950s-style rolled-up jeans, white shirts and slicked back hair and sing and dance to ‘Run Around Sue’ while the girls performed to ‘Make Your Way To The Top.’

“We like to choose lively music that everyone can enjoy,” Reed said.

Admission was $2 for adults and children, except those performing in the show, of course. Carnation stems were on sale for $2 to present to the little stars.

Lincoln’s Kindergarten performed the classic folk song, “If I Had A Hammer,” followed by their classmates who performed “Hit Me Up” as well as Vince Guaraldi’s “Linus & Lucy” piano music.

Mann Kindergarten donned Sponge Bob and Patrick costumes to perform “The Goofy Goobers,” followed by “Please Mr. Postman.” Irving-Kindergarten did a “50-State Song” as well as bouncing to “Kids Of America.” Irving kicked things up a notch with the hip hop “Peanut Butter & Jelly” as well as “Running With Kid N’ Play.” Longfellow performed “When We Grow Up” and a medley that included “Sunshine and Summertime.” Beye got everyone rocking with “Life Is A Highway” as well as “Ciara Mix” and the always popular “Car Wash.” Hatch included “Pump It Up” as well as “Hey Now”, “Cover Girl” and “Do You Believe In Magic?” while Holmes wrapped up the show with “I Believe I Can Fly” and “I Think We’re All One Now.”

A number of students performed solo piano recitals.

-Stasia Thompson

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