Students from Heritage High School’s Theater Department plan to perform a musical skit as a part of this year’s April Foolies Charity Talent Show on Saturday, March 28. The skit, which was created by the students with the help of their teacher, Katie Amspaugh, will feature musical renditions of popular hits ranging from the 1940s to the present.
For Amspaugh, the competition serves as a chance to let both her students and Heritage High shine in front a deserving audience. “We’re all family. Everybody here is 100 percent dedicated, very motivated and works very hard,” Amspaugh said of her class.
When not instructing her students in the art of drama, Amspaugh spends some of her time working at a resident center to aid those with mental illness. Amspaugh recognizes the importance of the charity event as a way to give back to the community and benefit a worthy cause, having also instructed children with special needs during her 17 years as a drama teacher,
“Having worked with them, they’re a part of our family and it makes it that much more important to us to be get involved.”
For student performer Kaylee Roberson, her first experience with theater was in a small “hole-in-the-wall” theater in Pigeon Forge. After experiencing live drama for the first time, Roberson flocked back to the same theater consistently twice a week for two years.
“I just got that experience of watching it and falling in love with theater,” Roberson explained. When she eventually arrived in high school and learned drama was in fact a fine art, she knew that was path for her. “I felt accepted and real in myself and it was the best feeling in the world.”
Fellow Heritage thespian Liberty Denu shares the same passion for drama that characterizes the student performers. Currently in her fourth and final year of high school theater, Denu has come to appreciate the sense of community that comes with sharing the stage with friends.
“Theater is a place where we all become a big family,” Denu said. “It’s really fun because we learn new experiences through each other and we grow as a family and as individuals.”
Denu hopes the April Foolies show will help demonstrate that the students of her school can compete with the rest and give back at the same time. “I love that we’re bringing Heritage into our community and we’re helping in some way.”
Proceeds of April Foolies Talent Show will go to benefit nonprofit organizations The Gate and New Hope-Blount County Children’s Advocacy Center to help individuals with special needs and child victims of abuse.