The history of TrinitySchool will come to life onstage in February with the production of Arise and Build, a musical play depicting people and events in the life of the school founded in Athens, Alabama, in the weeks following the close of the Civil War and remaining, until it was closed during school desegregation more than a century afterward, Limestone County’s only high school for African-Americans.
Arise and Build will be staged at McCandless Hall on the campus of Athens State University at 7 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 5th; 2:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 6th; and 3 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 7th. Tickets are $20 each and can be purchased from Athens-Limestone Visitors Center, 100 N. Beaty Street, phone 256 232- 5411, or Kenny’s Kutz, 17308 U.S. Highway 72, phone 256 444-1682.
In assembling a cast, director Frank Travis has called upon thespians with whom he has worked before in productions including To Kill a Mockingbird, Arsenic and Old Lace, Poke Sallet Follies, and Crowns. The large cast, many of whom are also in the chorus, consists of some of Limestone County’s most talented vocalists, under the direction of Bryant Malone and John Malone Jr. of Committed Acappella Chorus. Theirs are the voices that comfort us at funerals,that uplift us in church, that inspire us at civic events. Five of the Arise and Build cast members performed to a soldout crowd in the 2013 production of Crowns. Most cast members have historical ties to Trinity, either as graduates or the descendants of graduates.
The premise of Arise and Build is this: The fictionalFletcher family, headed by patriarch James Fletcher (played by Denver Betts) returns to Athens to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Trinity School, James’s alma mater. James’s daughter Gloria (played by Cynthia Hines) and her twochildren, Jatori (played by Rebecca Brooks) and Jamanti (played by Jaylon Hammonds), are initially reluctant to make the trip South. Gloria is busy organizing a fundraiser; Jamanti has sports tryouts; and Jatori has no interest in visiting a town with only one Starbucks. However, arriving in Athens and getting a glimpse into James’s experience at Trinity, they become inspired by the people and events that molded him.
Arise and Build is a production of Athens- Limestone Community Association, presented in observance of Black History Month and in celebration of the recent ribbon-cutting for the Pincham- Lincoln Center, renovated from the remains of the school that closed in 1970. Proceeds go toward the operation of that facility. The play is based on the book, Holding the Fort, by Charlotte Fulton. Books, at $40 each, will be available for purchase during intermission. Production director Carolyn Williams promises an evening of entertainment and inspiration.
“This is a story everyone can relate to,” says Williams. “Arise and Build mhas something for everyone: humor, beautiful music, and a compelling story.”
Learn more about Trinity and its people by picking up a copy of the history of Athens and Limestone County, Holding the Fort, by Charlotte Fulton.
This book is available at the Limestone County Archives, Athens-Limestone Visitors Center or by mailing your check ($40 per copy; add $7 postage and handling per copy) to:
ALCA, P.O. Box 1476
Athens, AL 35612.
Courtesy photo. The fictional Fletcher family of Arise and Build
takes a closer look at a refurbished fountain at Trinity High School.
By: Holly Hollman