Belmont University’s Troutt Theater will host a special production from The Salama Institute this weekend as the Christian-based nonprofit organization celebrates its 25th anniversary.
Dimensions, a Cavalcade of Music from Opera to Broadway will include performances of Porgy and Bess, The Wiz, West Side Story, Dreamgirls, Grease, Cinderella and Carousel.
“Salama is wrapping up its 25th year and these are shows that we have done over the last 10 years. We wanted to do kind of a cavalcade of previous Broadway shows we had done,” said Executive Director Stan Weber. “The performing arts are the discipline builders that we use to build students’ character, self-discipline, team work, team building, projection and confidence. Students who are involved in the performing arts have better conflict resolution skills because you have to work together to make the production work. We also use the production to talk about issues of life. Students get inside their characters and learn the time period of the social issues of that time. And it helps them with personal value discussions. We then apply a biblical perspective on how you should base your decisions. Cinderella is all about families in transition, and Grease is about teen pregnancy, and those are issues that students are dealing with.”
Salama, meaning “peace” in Swahili, has served Nashville students for 25 years by providing academic, language, leadership development and performing arts programs to equip children with skills needed for success in life and to nurture lives of integrity and hope through the foundation of faith. Students in kindergarten through 12th grade commit to attending Salama daily afterschool and throughout the summer to supplement their public education with a liberal arts emphasis all from a Christian perspective readying students for college or other post high school experience.
Each student receives 750 hours of instruction each year. All students who have completed the institute have graduated from high school, and 99 percent of them have gone on to college or post-secondary training. Salama students LaShawn Morrow of Big Picture High School and Michael Coffee of Hillsboro High School will join Belmont’s incoming freshman class as E.S. Rose Park Scholarship recipients.
Belmont’s partnership with Salama began four years ago when Dr. Bob Fisher attended a production.
“Dr. Fisher came to one of our productions, and at that time we were doing West Side Story under a gigantic tent,” Weber said. “He was blown over and that led for him to come to the institute, and we since have had involvement from all the schools at Belmont.”
Belmont students and faculty serve Salama through academic projects and volunteerism. Recently, honors students created a new volunteer program for the nonprofit and completed a study on its cost effectiveness.
“Belmont has been a wonderful partner to Salama. You guys have let us use the Troutt Theater for our summer art series, and it is a great state-of-the-art theater for our kids that helps us keep our rent down and do our rehearsal and practices,” said Development Director George Crook. “We also have partnered with several students and academic programs like those who want to go into visual arts teaching, and Belmont business students have taught our high school students.”
Dimensions will show at 7 p.m. July 15 and July 16 as well as 4:30 p.m. July 17 in Belmont University’s Troutt Theater. Tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for seniors, and $7 for youth ages seven to 12 and $2 for children under age 6. Tickets may be purchased online.