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Conn-Area Catholic presents 'The Secret Garden'

Conn-Area Catholic School will present this year's musical production "The Secret Garden" at 7 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday in the Edwin S. Porter Theater, East Fairview Avenue, Connellsville.

Admission is free with a suggested donation of nonperishable items.

The students in the Performance Arts Program at the school have been rehearsing since October 2010 for the musical adaptation from the novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

Students from third to sixth grades auditioned for the 75-minute show, with a cast of 22 students and 11 stage crew members.

They will enchant an audience of all ages to come into the garden and see how "Such a Difficult Child" can be transformed by being part of "One Big Happy Family" as they delight with these song titles from the show.

Attendees will feel the heartwarming story of a sickly child transformed with the help of others, the magic of the secret garden, and the knowledge that "You Can Do It."

"This program has done a great deal for our students. It not only develops their talents, but it has encouraged a sense of self-confidence in who they are, which has a positive influence on other aspects of their lives," said Cecilia Solan, school principal.

Conn-Area Catholic School has been serving the educational and spiritual needs of students in the Connellsville and surrounding areas for 100 years. The faculty and staff said they are proud of the hard work the students put into the show and the accomplishments they make by being part of the program.

Many of the students involved in the musical production are also members of the school basketball, volleyball or cheerleading programs. Several students are spelling bee participants and finalists, art and essay winners for civic and community organizations' contests and actively participate in volunteer services in the area.

"The students learn far more than musical skills and dance steps by being involved in the rehearsal process," said Melissa Carey-Budd, volunteer director. "They learn about themselves, strengthen their memorization and cooperation skills and gain maturity and a sense of responsibility. I have no doubt that they will once again have reason to be proud of the show they put on for the public."

As always, the performances will be free to the public as part of the students' and school's commitment to the community. The school does ask for food donations, however, which will be distributed to Connellsville Food Bank and St. Vincent De Paul Society.

The Edwin S. Porter Theater is housed in the Connellsville Community Center. The theater has undergone several restorations in conjunction with the Fayette County Cultural Trust. FCCT along with Target has sponsored, in part, the production of this performance, licensed through Pioneer Drama Service.

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