By Stan Friedman
TULSA, OK (March 15, 2012) – The kids who participate in the Stomp & Holler program sponsored by Redeemer Covenant Church got to perform for the professional cast of STOMP Thursday night last week.
Like the Broadway show, Stomp & Holler combines singing, stomping, clapping, and dancing, says Matt Nightingale, director of worship ministries.
“The kids were really excited about going to the show,” Nightingale says. “I think a lot of them didn’t know much about STOMP before we went, so to get to see these amazing dancers and drummers and then to meet them afterwards was really cool. They had lots of questions for the cast.”
Conversely, the cast showed equal enthusiasm for the evening. “They talked a lot with the kids and answered all their questions. And then when we performed a little hip-hop for them, they really got into it,” Nightingale says. “The cast was filming with their iPhones and clapping and dancing along.”
The evening “was just a little taste of the dreams I have for Stomp & Holler,” says Nightingale. In all, 75 kids and parents attended the show. “I think the kids got a glimpse of what a successful career in the arts could look like, and it was great for me to see people from our church spending the evening with people who don’t go to our church or any church.”
Although Redeemer Covenant sponsors Stomp & Holler, it is not a “Christian” program, says Nightingale. “We want to be good neighbors. We want the community around us to be glad we’re here. We want to offer valuable services to the community with no strings attached.
“We don’t want them feeling like they are being loved, served and cared for just so we can get them to come to church or become Christians,” he adds. “We genuinely want to partner with the world around us to do good things in our community!”
In addition to Redeemer, Tulsa is filled with churches that have great children’s programs, Nightingale says. “We wanted to offer something completely different that would appeal to families who might not want anything to do with a typical Wednesday night church program. We did something similar to this when we ran a public school rhythm and arts camp the last few summers, so we knew that kids get really excited about singing and moving.”
Still, Nightingale, adds, “Redeemer would be so excited if a family was introduced to Jesus because they met one of our families at a rehearsal or event. As Christians who take the word of God seriously, we are always on the lookout for ways to introduce people to Jesus.”
Tulsa-based percussionist Jeff Porter leads the rhythm portion of the program. He has a special interest in educating children as well as performing. He received a grant from the Arts and Humanities Council of Tulsa to perform and teach in local schools.