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A pause to remember, celebrate and be grateful.

11 Nov

Among the founders of Lincoln Memorial University is Civil War General Oliver Otis Howard. Veterans, it would seem, have shaped this University from its very beginning. Throughout LMU’s rich history, war has reared its ugly head calling students to serve.  So on Veterans Day, it is only fitting that we pause to reflect and remember the service and sacrifice of all of our veterans. There are three in particular that I think paint a good picture of character of the servicemen at LMU.

PATRICK MCCAMY WILLIAMS

Pat Williams

The story of Patrick McCamy Williams opens like the story of many Lincoln Memorial University students. A native of Cumberland Gap, Tenn., where his father worked as the business manager at LMU, Pat Williams was the third of four children born to Casimir Pulaski “CP” and Annie George McCamy Williams.

A star basketball player at Powell Valley High School, he was an All-State honoree. Also an outstanding student, he enrolled at LMU following high school. Pat Williams played basketball at LMU and was one of six students highlighted in a Who’s Who in American Colleges in 1940. By that time, the campus had become a basic training ground for the military with both the Navy and U.S. Army Air Corps training men. The latter operated a unit of the Civilian Pilot Training Corps.  Pat Williams completed the Civil Pilot’s Training Course and received his pilot’s license in 1940.

When the U.S. entered World War II, Pat Williams was one of the many brave “Lincoln Men” who served his country. He was commissioned following his junior year at LMU. Before he was called to serve, he volunteered for active duty. Pat Williams transferred from the Cavalry to the US Army Air Corps in September 1941. He was inducted at Ft. Oglethorpe. Following training and one term as a flight instructor, Pat Williams was assigned to the 63rd Fighter Squadron of the 56 Fighter Group made up of the famous P-47 Republic Thunderbolts.

Pat Williams flew nine missions with his squadron prior to the fateful tenth mission that would claim his life. Moorsele, Belgium historian and aviation enthusiast Lothaire Vanoverbeke uncovered the details of the mission while researching his bookMoorsele, één dorp, twee vliegvelden (translated: Moorsele, A Village, Two Airports):

“Mission Rodeo 34 was carried out on May 31. Pat Williams was with Lyle Adrianse, Gordan Batdorf, Jack Brown, Sylvester Burke, George Compton, Lucian Dade, Roger Dyar, Joseph Egan, Dan Goodfleish, Walter Hannigan, Frank Peppers, Glenn Schiltz, Arthur Sugas and Edgar Whitley, all from the 63rd, part of the complete 56 FG that left Horsam St. Faith at 11:05 a.m. During the assembly Brown had to land because of a gasoline leak and was immediately replaced by Harry ‘Bunny’ Comstock. Over Hornchurch, Compton thought it safer to land because of engine trouble and did so accompanied by Sugas. To show no favoritism, Commander Hubert Zemke rotate the squadrons he flew in the lead and this time it was the 63rd up front with Pat Williams in his flight, sweeping the Knokke-Kortrijk-Diksmuide area. They entered the continent over the Dutch-Belgian border and turned south. Without seeing any ‘Krauts,’ they came over Kortrijk and now turned west. Suddenly Williams wheeled over and went straight down. Whitley was one of those who saw what happened and thinking of an oxygen failure, he started to scream at him over the radio “Pat, pull out,” hoping that if he was partially conscious, he could get him to respond. The Jug turned into a steep dive and was last seen at 10,000 ft. when it entered the clouds.”

Vanoverbeke’s research would go on to reveal that Pat Williams did regain consciousness and leveled the aircraft out; however he crash landed in a field outside the village of Moorsele. Horrified citizens watched as the pilot perished, not in the crash but in the fire that erupted following the impact. Zemke later wrote about the mission, “It was hard to come home and hear that we lost a crew in a dogfight, but losing a good pilot because of a stupid technical defect was even more regrettable.”

Pat Williams was buried with full military honors by a platoon of Flemish NSKK troopers on June 2, 1943. German authorities identified him immediately, but since all allied aircraft originated from Great Britain, the locals assumed he was an English pilot.

This is when Pat Williams’ story starts to deviate from the path of so many typical LMU students. It’s not the circumstance of his death or even his patriotic service that sets him apart, because many “Lincoln Men” volunteered for and gave their lives in service to their country. Rather, it’s the mark his death left on the village of Moorsele, which makes his story stand out.

Just as he was honored in life, Pat Williams was honored following his death. He was the first member of his famous squadron to receive the Air Medal and by direction of the President of the United States, the Purple Heart. His body was removed from Moorsele in 1946 and now rests at the U.S. Military Cemetery at Epinal, France (Bloc B, Plot 17, Grave 31). LMU held a memorial service in his honor on March 5, 1944, and his family carved a memorial on the reverse of his parents’ tombstone in Benton, Tenn. Perhaps the most striking remembrance of Pat Williams’ sacrifice is a monument erected a world away in a country where not a single soul had the pleasure of meeting Pat Williams.

Because local lore remembered him as an “English pilot” it wasn’t until the late 1980s that Pat Williams’ whole story was retold locally. Vanoverbeke’s research uncovered a photo from the crash that showed a star on the fuselage of the plane. The aviation aficionado immediately realized the star meant that it was not an English pilot who had lost his life near his village. He contacted the U.S. Embassy, the U.S. Air Force archives and eventually Colonel Zemke. Piecing the story together led him to Harrogate, Tenn., LMU and Howard Williams, Pat Williams’ younger brother.

Vanoverbeke’s research, a voluminous 410-page book, was published in 1993 and reissued in 1999. “As there was nothing in the village that reminded of that sacrifice, I felt that the name and history of Pat Williams had to be brought back to Moorsele. In August of 2001, I asked the Wevelgem mayor and town council (Moorsele is a borough of Wevelgem) to erect a monument for this American pilot,” Vanoverbeke said of his quest to erect a monument in honor of Pat Williams. 

The Wevelgem Town Council agreed and on June 2, 2002, the memorial monument was dedicated in the presence two of Howard Williams’ adult children and Whitley, the pilot who cried out trying to pull Pat Williams out of unconsciousness during his dissent. Colonel Marion Tunstall, Air Attaché of the U.S. Embassy in Brussels, represented the American Ambassador at the ceremony.

Belgium Prime Minister Yves Leterme and U.S. Ambassador to Belgium Howard Gutman were among the dignitaries present at the rededication of the Pat Williams memorial.

Nine years later Pat Williams would be honored once again, this time in the presence of Belgium Prime Minister Yves Leterme and U.S. Ambassador Howard Gutman. The rededication was necessary when the monument, which was originally placed between where he died and where he was first buried, had to be moved to accommodate the expansion of a local sports arena.

ROSS S. CARTER

Ross Carter

Ross Carter and Pat Williams probably either knew or knew of each other, as Carter was graduating cum laude from LMU around the same time Williams left the University to join the war efforts. Carter was born and raised in Scott County, Va., and graduated cum laude from LMU in 1941, where he majored in history. He went on to become a decorated war hero in World War II, as a member of the 82nd Airborne Division, 504th PIR. Carter participated in battles in Africa, Sicily, Italy and at Cassino. For his heroics during the war, Carter was awarded a Silver Star, Combat Infantry Badge, five Gold Stars for Battle, The Purple Heart and his unit earned a Presidential Unit Citation. His Paratrooper Wings bear three stars, one for each combat jump.  He saw 340 days of actual combat. He was one of three survivors from his original forty-four man platoon when the war ended.

After his service, Carter wrote the manuscript for the book Those Devils In Baggy Pants, a memoir of his wartime service.  Shortly after his service he was diagnosed with cancer and battled it throughout the writing process. During his illness he spent many hours with his brother Dr. Boyd G. Carter, briefing him on the editorial work.   His story went on to become a non-fictional best seller when it was released in 1951. A condensed version was published in Reader’s Digest in October 1951. Carter’s memoir is still in print today and is considered the quintessential book on the paratroopers in World War II.

The name for his book was inspired from this quote found in the diary of a German officer who opposed the 504th on the Anzio beachhead:  “American parachutists – devils in baggy pants – are less than 100 meters from my outpost line.  I can’t sleep at night; they pop up from nowhere and we never know when or how they strike next.  Seems like the black-hearted devils are everywhere…” –  thus  the title  Those Devils in Baggy Pants.

Ten years after his death, LMU celebrated its sixtieth year as an institution of higher learning. During that celebration two Airborne Infantry master sergeants presented the school with a check for $300, the first gift to the University in Carter’s memory. Carter never lived to see his success, succumbing to cancer on April 18, 1947. Having never married and leaving no descendants, his legacy lives on at his alma mater, where his fellow paratroopers and classmates have established the Ross Carter Memorial Scholarship Fund.

“Ross lives on in the book he wrote and in the lives of the young people who are inspired by his example,” University President Robert Kincaid remarked at that celebration. “From his short life of full achievement and devotion will come inspiration for future writers and future leaders who will add greatly to the priceless heritage he has left to humanity.”

Carter’s legacy lives on, even today, as his scholarship is awarded annually and the English department awards Ross S. Carter writing awards.

DAVID “MAC” MCCOLLUM

David “Mac” McCollum

Nearly 70 years after Williams lost his life in WWII and 65 years after Carter succumbed to cancer, David “Mac” McCollum crossed the stage at Tex Turner Arena in 2012 and became an alumnus of LMU. A decorated Marine veteran, McCollum served two tours of duty in Iraq during his seven years of military service prior to enrolling at LMU.

His path to LMU was born out of frustration with a larger institution. “After my second tour, I knew I wanted to take advantage of the education benefits that come with serving our country. I wanted to do that at UT, but for whatever reason, they couldn’t get me in the classes I needed to graduate within the time frame I wanted to graduate,” McCollum said. “Discouraged, I checked out all the other schools around Knoxville. On a whim, I visited LMU. I literally left campus that day with a clear path to graduation, signed up for classes with financial aid in the works. I couldn’t believe it.”

McCollum stayed on his course and graduated in May. As significant as the 20 or so steps it took for him to cross the stage and pick up his diploma were, what came next may have shaped his life even more. Just two days after crossing the stage at commencement, McCollum embarked on an over-500 mile trek from Knoxville to Washington, D.C. Throughout his “Ruck to Remember” McCollum blogged about his experience to raise funds and awareness for the Wounded Warrior Project

McCollum logged thousands of miles alongside fellow heroes and patriots in extreme conditions and under fire while he served in the Marines. Many of the soldiers he walked alongside never made it home or suffered traumatic and life-altering injuries. It is in honor of his fallen friends that he has mapped out his next path. 

McCollum was inspired to do something after his best friend, Bradley Walker, lost both of his legs during his second deployment. “I really feel like I didn’t and can’t do enough for him,” McCollum said. “We were just kids. Just 23, 24-year-olds and his life has changed. It’s just the right time for me to step up and support all the wounded warriors, like Bradley.”

The idea initially grew out of camping and hiking trips with fellow veterans. “We would sit around the campfire and talk about our experiences. Inevitably the conversations would trail off as we remembered all of the guys we lost or who were injured. We decided we had to do something to honor them.”

McCollum completed his “Ruck to Remember” on Memorial Day in Arlington National Cemetery. His fundraising wrapped up a couple months later with a tally of over $17,000 raised for the Wounded Warrior Project. Now a decorated veteran and college graduate, McCollum hopes to go back to work for the United States of America, this time for the federal government in an agency such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

On this Veterans Day, we pause to remember, celebrate and be grateful for all of our servicemen and women, especially Pat, Ross and Mac.

Honest Abe goes Hollywood

30 Mar

If you have a penchant for pop culture, like I do, then I’m sure you’ve heard that the Hunger Games had the third largest opening of any film in history.  It’s another example of a beloved book making a splash on the big screen.  One of this year’s other big hits at theaters, The Help, was also first an acclaimed book from author Kathryn Stockett. That adaptation even yielded an Academy Award for supporting actress Octavia Spencer, who brought Stockett’s Minny Jackson to life. The film also garnered several nominations and awards at various film festivals and awards presentations.  The horizon is filled with film adaptations of classic literature and more recently-released books.

June will bring the big screen version of Seth Grahme-Smith’s Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter. The highly-anticipated film based on the New York Times Bestseller offers the premise, what if the Civil War was fought not only over slavery, but to block the vampires’ access to human trade? It is yet another foray into film for Lincoln Memorial University’s namesake and the inspiration for the Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum’s newest exhibit: Lincoln at the Movies.

The exhibit, which opens Friday, was developed by ALLM Curator Steven Wilson and takes a look at the 16th President and his influence, representation and relationship to the motion pictures. There are few more recognizable figures in history than the president known as “Honest Abe.” The story of his life and death has been told and retold on page, on stage and on the silver screen.

Audiences have flocked to see serious portrayals of Abe’s story from the 1912 blockbuster Birth of a Nation to the 1940s Abe Lincoln in Illinois, to 2011’s examination of his assassination in the movie Conspirator. Audiences have also seen his character portrayed in a more comedic light by actors and non-actors including pro wrestler Hulk Hogan and comedian Johnny Carson. In the movies, Lincoln has traveled through time, beamed aboard starships, unintentionally insulted his long-suffering wife, and even wrestled George Washington. Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter will add another entry to that list of odd things he’s done on film that we’re quite sure Abraham Lincoln never really did.

Just as we're fairly certain Honest Abe never actually hunted vampires, we're he never addressed the students of San Dimas High.

Abraham Lincoln at the Movies uses photographs, artifacts, original posters and media to provide a means for today’s audience to see the constant and fascinating journey of Lincoln through American culture. The exhibit will also shine a light on LMU’s minor role in Lincoln’s life on film. In 1940, LMU was the site of the southern premiere of Abe Lincoln in Illinois. The film’s star Raymond Massey was on hand for the premiere and was also awarded a Lincoln Diploma of Honor for his performance in the motion picture and his role on stage.

The exhibit will be on display through February 12, 2013. The Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum is located on the campus of Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, Tenn. Admission to the museum is $5 for adults, $3.50 for senior citizens and $3 for children under 12. Housing one of the top five Lincoln and Civil War private collections in the world, the Museum is open Monday-Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday from noon to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

LMU welcomes Japanese students

21 Mar

LMU-Kanto Program Director Curtis Klinghoffer greets the Kanto International High School Students during orientation on Tuesday.

The long journey was complete Monday night as 57 students and two teachers from Kanto International Senior High School in Tokyo, Japan, arrived at Lincoln Memorial University. The group was met by LMU’s Kanto Program Director Curtis Klinghoffer, Assistant Director JoAnn Russell and a handful of residential life staff members to help move them into the rooms that will be their home for the next seven weeks.The English immersion program began in earnest on Tuesday morning with orientation. LMU President Dr. B. James Dawson, Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs Evelyn Smith, Dean of Students Frank E. Smith and Director of Housing Leslie Chumley were among the administration to greet the students during orientation. In addition to the well wishes from LMU brass, the students were introduced to their instructors, received their class schedules, went on a campus tour and were issued IDs. After lunch in the LMU dining hall, the students were given the afternoon to explore campus and get acquainted with the area. Several found their way to the LMU softball game for their first truly American experience.

Kanto Instructor Kathy Francisco gives a group of Kanto students a campus tour during orientation.

Students have come annually to LMU from the Kanto International Senior High School since the LMU-Kanto Program began in 1979. This group of 57 students will spend the next six weeks engaging in rigorous, immersive English studies and an extracurricular cultural program that exposes them to the richness of the culture of the Appalachian region. In addition, the group will take a three-day excursion to Washington, D.C. The students also make home stays with host families.

The home stay involves a family welcoming a Kanto student into their home for a weekend. The encounter begins with the family picking the student up Friday evening. The student must be back to campus some time on Sunday. The LMU-Kanto Program is still looking for families to host students this spring. Russell, who coordinates the home stays, says the students are looking for anything more than a look at a typical weekend at home. “They really want to see what is like to live in an American home. They aren’t looking for any big exciting side trip or anything. They are here to learn English and experience our culture.”

As much as the students gain from this experience, the benefits are reciprocal: the entire LMU community is enriched by the presence of these Japanese students who teach about their own customs and traditions.

A day that will live in infamy

7 Dec

 I have a brother who serves in the U.S. Coast Guard. For three years he was stationed in at the Barber’s Point Air Station on Oahu, Hawaii. This gave me a wonderful opportunity to visit paradise in January 2006. Though the beaches and scenery were spectacular, it was the visit to Pearl Harbor that left the biggest impression on me.

The history lessons and Hollywood movies painted a picture in my mind, but actually visiting the site where so many American service men and women lost their lives moved me beyond words. The experience was profound.

So today, on the70th anniversary of the day that President Franklin D. Roosevelt so fitting decreed “a day that will live in infamy,” I reveled in the many accounts of the attack on Pearl Harbor published in virtually every newspaper in the country. So many of those papers delivered to their readers unique and localized stories related to the events of that day. It made me wonder how many LMU stories could be linked to that one event in history. My interest was piqued enough that I sought out my favorite historian to provide some information.

Dr. Charles Hubbard, professor of history and Lincoln historian, never fails to deliver. Our discussion eventually got to the stories of LMU graduates at Pearl Harbor, but not before he reminded of one of the most somber and striking stories of the U.S.S. Arizona.

If you have or ever will visit the U.S.S. Arizona memorial you know or will see pretty quickly what I mean. No tourist destination, this National Park which is supervised by the same National Park Service that manages the Cumberland Gap National Historical Park, is a memorial. The mood can only be described as somber. The day we visited was gloriously sunny with few clouds to dull the sunshine and yet there was no joy in our visit.

The reverent boat ride over to the U.S.S. Arizona memorial site was the chilling as you pass sunken ships and can clearly see oil that continues to come to the surface some 70 years later. At the Memorial itself, there is a great marble wall with the names of the one we have lost engraved. Toward the bottom is another set of names set off on their own. A tour guide explained to me how they are survivors who chose to have their remains entombed with their fellow shipmates.

 

Did you know, DCOM is not LMU’s first medical school?

4 Oct

It’s been about six years since LMU first announced its plans to pursue what is know the LMU-DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine.  I still remember one of the most interesting tidbits about the University that was unearthed in the planning for the announcement was the historical timeline for the first medical school run by LMU.

I was reminded of that history recently, when Oliver Springs native Dean Ford contacted me. Ford, who had no connection to LMU, purchased a lot of frames at an auction years ago. He said he assumed they were all blank and never went through them all. When he finally did, years later, he found a large diploma from the Medical College of Lincoln Memorial University for one Dr. Stanley Nease. The diploma was dated 1915, which would make it one of the last class years to graduate from the Medical College of Lincoln Memorial University.

The Medical Department of LMU in Knoxville, Tenn. circa 1905.

The school  dates back even earlier than LMU as it was founded in 1889 as the Tennessee Medical College. It was a private medical college located in Knoxville, Tenn. It was one of 133 medical schools in operation in the United States by 1890. Following a period of time, the school fell on hard times financially and started looking to align itself with larger schools. TMC approached LMU with an articulation agreement to make TMC the Medical Department of LMU in 1905. A contract was affirmed and ratified in 1906. By 1909, TMC was sold to LMU and became the Medical College of LMU.

The Operating room of Lincoln Memorial Hospital.

The financial troubles continued and by 1914, LMU’s board arranged for the sale of the school building and associated hospital. It concluded operation at the end of the school year and made arrangements for its students to complete their coursework elsewhere. Dr. Nease was among those who completed their degrees after the school was shuttered. Included in the back of the frame Ford found was a letter from the University of Tennessee certifying that Nease had in fact completed his studies.

Dean Ford presents Stanley Nease's diploma to Senior Director of Marketing and Public Relations Kate Reagan.

After his discovery, Ford tried to find a living relative of Dr. Nease to give the diploma to. After a exhaustive search, he contacted his friend John Rice Irwin, the founder of the Museum of Appalachia, to see if he would be interested in adding the diploma to the museum’s collection. Irwin, a longtime friend of LMU, referred Ford to the University and last week I met him at the LMU-Cedar Bluff Extended Learning Site. He generously gave LMU the diploma, which is nearing 100 years old. It had been damaged by water and time.

 I turned the Nease diploma over to University Archivist Michelle Ganz. She indicated that the document was likely beyond repair for display, but it was still an important piece of LMU history that would be saved in our collection. When she returned to the archives she discovered that our collection already boasted several duplicate diplomas or diplomas that were never picked up from the Medical College at LMU from that time period.

My newest project will be to take one or two from the archives and prepare them for exhibit at LMU-DCOM. On the heels of the Inaugural Class graduation in May, I think it would be great to display one of the first LMU-DCOM diplomas alongside one of the last Medical College at LMU diplomas.

A day of days for the Duncan School of Law

6 Sep


And with that, the Tennessee Supreme Court was in session at the LMU-Duncan School of Law. What an exciting time for LMU’s young law school. For the roughly 200 students, it was an opportunity to see the state’s highest court in action; for Dean Sydney A. Beckman, his faculty and the administration of LMU, it was a watershed moment in the institution’s lifespan.

 

LMU Chairman Pete DeBusk and LMU-DSOL Dean Sydney A. Beckman take in the action just prior to the Supreme Court proceedings.

When Beckman and company set out to build a law school at LMU, chief among their goals was to harness technology to enhance a student’s experience. They wanted to employ faculty who had practice experience and could offer advice from the life lessons they had learned in their careers. They wanted to provide their students with mentors, as well as teachers, and make sure access was never an issue. They sought to build a facility that could and would host even the state’s highest court so students could observe the law in action.

Last Wednesday, as Justice Sharon G. Lee, Justice Gary R. Wade, Chief Justice Cornelia A. Clark, Justice Janice M. Holder and Justice William C. Koch entered DSOL’s courtroom to the sound of a gavel striking the bench, I could not help but feel a swell of pride for the school, its students, faculty and Dean Beckman.

 

James Alexander of the Old City Hall Partnership, Lincoln Memorial University (LMU) President Nancy B. Moody and Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam sign lease agreements to allow LMU to occupy the Old City Hall Building in Knoxville while LMU Board Chairman Autry O.V. “Pete” DeBusk looks on.

Sitting in the very same room that had hosted the lease signing in February of 2008 it’s impossible to quantify just how much has changed in “Old City Hall.” Back then, LMU was still developing plans for the facility that “might” include a possible school of law. Soon after the lease signing, LMU notified the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and the Tennessee Board of Law Examiners of its intent to pursue a jurisprudence degree. Dean Beckman, hadn’t made his first visit to Knoxville yet and was still a faculty member at the Charleston School of Law. He would join LMU in July of 2008. To think of all the man hours that have been spent to get that “possible law school” to the point where it would host the state’s highest court is staggering.

Beyond the pride in how far we’ve come, Wednesday was a celebration of the potential of what is yet to come. As the overflow crowd gathered to hear oral arguments presented in three cases, including a death penalty appeal, it isn’t hard to imagine that some students might one day present their own arguments before the Tennessee Supreme Court. Likewise, it isn’t a far stretch to envision other judges and area courts presiding over the bench in the LMU-DSOL courtroom.

 

 

Oklahoma! in Harrogate

27 Aug

Throughout the years some remarkable theater productions have been staged at the Duke Hall of Citizenship, the Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum’s Arnold Auditorium or even in the dining hall. For years, faculty member Dr. John Irvine, now retired, sat in the director’s chair for the Railsplitters Playmakers Dinner Theatre.

For over 30 years group put on two productions a year. Casts have included faculty, staff, students and community members. Productions of plays such as Crimes of the Heart, the female version of The Odd Couple, Steel Magnolias, Bedroom Farce, Love Letters, The Mousetrap, The importance of Being Earnest, The Foreigner and You Can’t Take it With You came to life for all to enjoy. In 2006 the Bell County Chamber of Commerce recognized Irvine and the group with the Cultural Development Award for enriching the culture of the area.

However, a few years ago Dr. Irvine retired from the University and the Railsplitters Playmakers Dinner Theatre came to an end. It was not the end of plays at LMU. Long time technical director for the Railsplitters Playmakers Dinner Theatre Vaughn Schutz and his wife, Sara, stepped up and created the Railsplitter Playhouse. Since then, the Railsplittter Playhouse has presented Love Hurtz, The Curious Savage, The Nerd and You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown.

This fall, the Railsplitter Playhouse is taking on their most ambitious production yet. Next week director Sara Schutz and musical director Candace Armstrong will be casting for Oklahoma! The Broadway favorite first premiered on the Great White Way in 1943 with and ran for an unprecedented 2,212 straight performances. The epic musical requires a large cast.

Auditions will be held September 1, 2 and 3. They will be held at the Sam and Sue Mars Performing Arts Center in the Duke Hall of Citizenship on LMU’s main campus in Harrogate, Tenn. The times are set for 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. on September 1 and 2 and from 2 to 4 p.m. on September 3. They are open to ages 12 and up. Schutz and Armstrong will be casting for actors, singers and dancers, though not all cast members will need to do all there. No prior experience is necessary. The large scope of the production requires a strong commitment from everyone.

Prospective cast members should come to the auditions prepared to sing a short song, read from the script and learn a short dance. Accompaniment will be provided by Armstrong, so prospective cast members are asked to bring your music to your audition. Attendance is only required at one of the audition sessions. Call backs will take place on September 6 at 6:30 p.m. The cast will be set on September 6 and rehearsals start on September 7. Performance dates have been set for November 10, 11, 12, 17, 18 and 19.

For more information please contact Schutz by email at saravaughnschutz@gmail.com or phone at (865) 585-5377 or Armstrong by email at Candace.armstrong@lmunet.eduor phone at (423) 869-6449.