Each year, the students at the Roseville school produce a Christmas pageant.

Each year, the students at the Roseville school produce a Christmas pageant.

Photo by Brandy Baker


Academy of Dreams students perform annual Christmas pageant

By: Brendan Losinski | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published December 18, 2018

 Academy of Dreams student Mackenzie Dean, 22, performs her role as the angel Daphne in the school’s  production of the “Fumbly Bumbly Angels” at Trinity United Methodist Church in Roseville Dec. 7.

Academy of Dreams student Mackenzie Dean, 22, performs her role as the angel Daphne in the school’s production of the “Fumbly Bumbly Angels” at Trinity United Methodist Church in Roseville Dec. 7.

Photo by Brandy Baker

 Cast members and vocalists join together for the finale of “Joy to the World,”  “O Come All Ye Faithful” and “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” to close out  the Academy of Dreams’ third annual Christmas pageant Dec. 7.

Cast members and vocalists join together for the finale of “Joy to the World,” “O Come All Ye Faithful” and “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” to close out the Academy of Dreams’ third annual Christmas pageant Dec. 7.

Photo by Brandy Baker

 Becky Hood, of New Baltimore, holds daughter Reese, 5, as they watch the show.

Becky Hood, of New Baltimore, holds daughter Reese, 5, as they watch the show.

Photo by Brandy Baker

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ROSEVILLE — Sometimes it takes a little Christmas joy to get people in the holiday spirit, and the students at the Academy of Dreams in Roseville are stepping up to do just that.

The Academy of Dreams is a school for adults with special needs. For the last three years, the students have put on a Christmas pageant in early December. This year, they visited Trinity United Methodist Church Dec. 7 to spread some Christmas cheer.

The first Christmas pageant was performed in 2016 and showcased the students’ singing talents. The next year, the performers added in dance moves. This year, the students took it up another notch and performed the Christmas play “The Fumbly Bumbly Angels.”

“I wanted to give back to the community, and I wanted to get everybody in the Christmas spirit,” explained Sandy Delaney, the owner of Academy of Dreams. “We started just doing a few Christmas carols. We got such a great response for it, and people were so happy to see something nice and fun during the holidays.”

The play told the story of four angels and their madcap journey to try and witness the birth of Jesus. Some students performed in the play while others were featured as vocalists singing Christmas carols.

“They had to try out this year for each part,” said choreographer Renee Colasanti. “We wanted to give everybody a chance to shine instead of just doing a group program. … It’s a great opportunity for these guys to shine in a unique way. They all have unique skills, and it’s such a great way to get into the holiday spirit.”

Delaney and Colasanti said the special needs of their students can mean having a more difficult time learning things such as lyrics or choreography, but — just like everyone else — it all comes down to practice.

“The first year was just singing, and the second year was more focused on dancing. This year we put it all together,” said Colasanti. “It’s all a matter of repetition and practicing over and over again. … They were all very excited to learn, and in the end, they all did excellent jobs.”

Several of the students said this was one of their favorite activities throughout the year. 

“It was awesome,” said Liz Mercer, who had a solo in the show as she performed “Silent Night.” “My cousin Abby is my role model, and she’s a singer. We got to sing and dance. It was so much fun.”

Mackenzie Dean, who played Daphne the angel, said she loved getting to play a fun character and said she really connected to the part.

“I love being Daphne,” she said. “I have an attitude like Daphne, and I really like thinking like Daphne.”

All the students hoped the play would help give everyone a Merry Christmas.

“It lets you be with your family and friends and people like Sandy,” Byron Howard, who played Chance the angel, said after the performance. “They were all here tonight. It’s the best way to celebrate Christmas.”

Delaney said the play helps the students, several of whom overcame shyness, but it also helps the community as it reminds people not to let their difficulties stop them from trying to achieve something special and to remember the real meaning of Christmas.

“The biggest thing is I want them to feel important and show people how much they are capable of,” said Delaney. “I think a lot of people sort of shut the door on them and underestimate how much they can do.”

 

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