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Salvation Army Sacred Dance Troupe traveling to finals

HOULTON, Maine — There is a buzz around the Salvation Army headquarters in Houlton as five youths from the area brought home a second-place trophy from the Northern New England Divisional “Star Search Competition” regional event in Portland, Saturday, May 5.

A panel of judges rates students on their performances. First-place winners in various categories such as brass soloist, drama monologue, singing company and youth band advance to the Territorial Star Search in Pennsylvania. Groups can also qualify.

The Houlton group will be among 18 first-place students and seven groups to travel to Hershey, Pennsylvania to participate at the annual Territorial Star Search, which is Salvation Army’s version of the popular television show “American Idol.” These children competed along with other youths from The Salvation Army Eastern Territory, which includes 11 states.

“The kids competed with other dance groups from around Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont and shined brightly,” Melissa Nataluk and Jenna Carr, the children’s dance teachers in Houlton, stated in press release Friday, May 18.

The Houlton team members include Shayne Grass, Kayleigh Belyea, Arianna Johnson, April Philipps and Elijah McClure.

Andrew Poulopoulos, a former music teacher in the Houlton school district, leads the Salvation Army’s Divisional Music and Gospel Arts program. “It’s amazing to watch these students grow and perform with such devotion to the Arts and the Lord,” said Poulopoulos.

Even though the Houlton group finished second, it scored high enough to advance to the next stage. The team who finished first opted not to attend.

Houlton’s squad is now in the fundraising mode as the team must raise $1,500 for travel expenses to Hershey, Pennsylvania, for the annual Territorial Star Search.

The group will host a benefit supper on Friday, June 8, from 5 to 6:30 p.m. at The Salvation Army, 12 Court St. in Houlton. The suggested donation for the meal of barbecued chicken, mashed potatoes, pasta salad and brownie a la mode is $9 for adults, $5 for children or $20 for a family.

If any individual or business wants to help sponsor the trip please call Envoy/Pastor Frank Nataluk at 532-2322. Those who wish to send donations may send them to the address above.

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