By Quinn Lavespere, Message Intern Staff Writer
PINEVILLE – As he cleaned up in preparation for a lunch break, Wesley Brainard refused to let a nagging cough hinder his pleasure at what was transpiring.
The ministering artist had just finished a class in which he taught Drama and Music Festival attendees about the art of miming, and he could not deny how pleased he was with both the talented members of his class and the overall direction of the festival.
“There’s been a really good energy amongst attendees at this festival, and the classes have been filled with eager students,” Brainard said. “That makes it a real joy and pleasure to teach a class of eager students.”
Brainard, along with other conference leaders, helped put together the 10th annual Drama Festival, which was once again hosted by Louisiana College. This year it merged with the Louisiana Baptist Church Music Conference to create the first-time Drama and Music Festival.
[img_assist|nid=7140|title=Drama Festival|desc=Participants at this year’s Drama and Music Festival go through creative movement as part of five main sessions in elements of drama.|link=none|align=left|width=100|height=75]The Festival, which took place Feb.18-19, took place for the purpose, Brainard said, “of teaching and training people to take their gifts and serve their churches in a meaningful way.” About 300 participated.
The first night of the festival featured a worship service in Guinn Auditorium in which the percussion group STOMP of Broadmoor Baptist Church in Shreveport, Brainard, and fellow dramatist Jeff Smith entertained between worship songs by Kirk Kirkland of Judson Baptist Church.
Afterwards, attendees were given the choice of attending a 7:30 p.m. music session or “Amateur Nite at the Box” in MPAC Theater, which was hosted by LC drama group “Testify.”
After Testify performed an opening skit about the funny eccentricities of churches, other acting groups from churches such as Koran Baptist Church and Sales Street Baptist Church performed skits that were both humorous and serious. Following the performances, Brainard and Smith critiqued performers and gave them acting tips.
After a short break, the first night of the festival concluded with “Funny Bones,” a series of gut-busting skits that were performed by dramatist Kathy Frady, LC professor and “Testify” director “Pete” Richardson, and others.
The festival’s second day included five main sessions in elements of drama: creative movement, directing and others. The day concluded with another worship service which featured more worship music, including a performance of “Amazing Grace” and other songs by conductor Mark Minton and his orchestra.
“I think it’s been a tremendous success,” Frady said. “I think students have gotten to interact and learn practical things that they can take home to their churches.”
The dramatists weren’t the only ones pleased.
“Mr. Brainard was outstanding as a teacher,” said Sophie Fletcher, 15, of Walker Baptist Church in Walker. “I really learned a lot from him. I’ve enjoyed this festival so much. The other people from my church have also enjoyed it.”
Hannah Patterson, 12, of Harvest Christian School, agreed.
“I love being here,” Patterson said. “It’s awesome, and I think Mr. Brainard is pretty great himself, especially at clarifying things.”
Angie Hatfield of First Baptist Ponchatoula attended Frady’s improvisation classes.
“It’s been very educational, and we’ve got a lot of information we can carry back to our church to experiment with our kids,” Hatfield said. “It’s been rather enjoyable today.”