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FBC Guntersville member shares play to be ‘salt, light’comment (0)

July 12, 2012

By Sondra Washington

High school memories plus popular songs from the 1960s equal a great time for families in Guntersville thanks to a stage play written by one Alabama Baptist church leader.

Two years ago, Tim Hays, a deacon and Sunday School teacher at First Baptist Church, Guntersville, and his friend, David Chupp, a pediatrician and former minister of music, wrote a play called “Lovin’ the Sixties.”

Hays categorizes the play as “a jukebox musical” featuring some of Marshall County’s history including the Dairy Hut, a restaurant that was popular during the ’60s.

“The storyline is my wife and I go to our 40-year class reunion,” Hays said. “While we are there, we disagree about how we met, how cool we were and how our friends met. When we walk in, we go back to our 1969 junior-senior prom and see exactly what happens.”

That same year the play was written, it was performed at The Whole Backstage, a community theater in Guntersville, in front of sellout crowds.

“We sold out all eight shows in the 333-seat theater,” Hays said. “We had to bring in chairs to sit 350. It was a phenomenon. I had to turn my mother away on Mother’s Day. I finally got her a seat.”

This month, Alabama residents will have another chance to see the play. 

“It’s a G-rated show that is not offensive in any way,” Hays said. “It’s just something we can do and have fun. It’s a nice place to bring your kids. People are hungry for that kind of entertainment — clean, wholesome and kind of a Mayberry theme to it.”

Ken Patterson, minister of music at First, Guntersville, stars as a character named Ernie in the stage play, which he says is filled with “all the fun songs from the ’60s.”

“My job is to take care of myself and make sure I do my part and help the men with their vocals,” he said. “It gives me an opportunity to use my music skills as a way to help the community not just through the church.”

But the show is not all fun and games. Hays hopes it will also bring awareness to the need for organ donation.

“My son passed away waiting on a heart transplant,” Hays said. “He was almost 15. … There were just no donors. One thing that was encouraging to me was that there was someone who signed their card as a result of my son and seven or eight people were helped because of it. … If your death can help five people or help no one, which one would you choose? God is going to use the tragedy and make something good out of it.”

Now a fellow cast member reminds Hays of others who are awaiting organ transplants.

“There is a lady in the show who is on complete dialysis and doesn’t have any kidneys,” Hays said. “She comes and does our show and goes on dialysis for 12 hours plus she works. She told me that this show is a great motivation for her and it’s such a positive influence in her life. … We are all very prayerful that she will get that opportunity.”

Like Hays, Patterson sees the play as an opportunity to save lives — not physically, but spiritually by sharing the gospel. 

“I think one of the important things for ministers to do is to be salt and light in the community,” he said. “Sometimes, you can get in your own world and get stuck there doing administrative things. It’s good when you can get involved in the community. I’ve come across many people that I would not have met had I not left the church building.”

“Lovin’ the Sixties” will open July 13 at The Whole Backstage in Guntersville. 

Performances will be held July 13, 14, 19, 20 and 21 at 7 p.m., and July 15 and 22 at 2 p.m. For
more information, call 256-582-SHOW.

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