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Hippies at heart in the Vail Valley

Caramie Schnell
cschnell@vaildaily.com
Vail, CO Colorado
Special to the Vail Daily/Rex Keep PhotosKris Thornton of the Vail Performing Arts Academy belts out "Hair" as entire cast demonstrates the definition of "hair-ography."
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VAIL VALLEY, Colorado –Call it the Vail Valley’s “Hippie 101.” For the past two and a half months, Battle Mountain High School junior Susanna DeChant has been learning about the 1960s – by acting like a hippie.

“This play is a lot more historically accurate than some of the other shows we’ve done. It portrays a time in history and it’s been interesting to learn about how these people used to think, act and dress,” DeChant said. “All of our parents grew up during that time, so they know what it was like, but we never got to experience it.”

DeChant plays three parts in the show – that of a hippie, a tourist and the mother of one of the hippies.



“She’s trying to whip him into shape,” DeChant said of her mother role. “This boy’s parents give him a draft card and tell him to go to war. It’s a pretty heavy scene.”

She’s one of 60 local kids ages 8 to 18 taking part in the Vail Performing Arts Academy’s musical revue, “Flower Power.” The show is set for Sunday night at Battle Mountain High School’s performing arts center in Edwards.



For anyone that knows the academy’s executive producer and founder, Annah Scully, it’s no surprise the free spirit calls herself a “hippie at heart.” For this show, she particularly enjoyed giving the kids a history lesson at each rehearsal to help them understand where the music and the powerful lyrics contained therein came from.

“In this show we had a lot of questions about hippies,” Scully said. “We customized the show to celebrate the peace, love, and organic ’60s energy that is still with us to this day.”

Kids donning bell bottoms, tie-dyed clothes, long hair and the like will take the stage. Over the course of the show, attendees can expect to hear familiar songs from artists such as Jimi Hendrix, Jefferson Airplane, Cat Stevens and the like.



Local musician Larry Dutmer directed the “Woodstock band,” which often rehearsed in a local garage for the show. He was impressed by kids’ talent.

“We have high-school-age performers with great rock ‘n’ roll talent,” he said. “They have done their homework learning Woodstock classic rock tunes.”

The Vail Performing Arts Academy has been offering year-round theater instruction and performance opportunities for local students since 1997. Each year the academy produces a summer musical, a fall revue at the Vilar, and a spring show performed on a local school stage. This year will be academy’s debut performance at Battle Mountain’s stage and Scully hopes that attendees will break out their own ’60s duds for the show.

“We hope everyone in the audience shows up in hippie attire and gets into the spirit of it all,” she said.

High Life Editor Caramie Schnell can be reached at 970-748-2984 or cschnell@vaildaily.com.

Vail Performing Arts Academy is currently enrolling for its summer musical, “West Side Story,” for students ages 8 to 18. For full information on programs or to become a sponsor, visit http://www.vailperformingarts.com, or e-mail annah.scully@comcast.net


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