CCHS students and alumnae perform at Summer Reunion Blast

Published 11:37 pm Monday, July 25, 2016

Past "Blast From the Past" came together to participate in the Summer Reunion Blast. (Photo by Stephen Dawkins / Special)

Past “Blast From the Past” came together to participate in the Summer Reunion Blast. (Photo by Stephen Dawkins / Special)

By Brandon Sumrall | Special to the Advertiser

The sounds of rock-and-roll music have blared through the speakers of Chilton County High School Auditorium for more than 20 years, but it was not a Friday night block party that caused a commotion this weekend. It was Chilton County High School’s annual Summer Reunion Blast, which featured about 80 current and former students in two nights of performances.

The annual event is beloved by students and alumnae alike and is now being passed down from one generation to the next.

“My kids are the real reason that I decided to perform this year,” said Wendy Dale, a Blast veteran. “My son enjoys the Blast and will be a freshman this year at CCHS and I really want him to be involved, but my daughter and middle son have also always enjoyed the show. I credit them with putting the thought in my mind to perform again, so I decided let’s do this one more time.”

The event began as an annual show performed during the school. In 2001, the Summer Reunion Blast was added.

“We had so many graduates that were coming to us wanting to perform again, so we wanted to give them a forum to do so without taking any time away from the current students,” said show producers Rick and Sheri McKee.

It’s not just the show performance that attracts Blast alumnae to the event. Pride in Chilton County and Chilton County High School is deeply embedded in many of the cast members.

When asked why she was making a return to the Blast, Julie Harrison’s love of the community and the school was the main reason.

“I love Chilton County High School as well as my affiliation with the Pride of Chilton County Band. That along with my affiliation with our school system in general is why I chose to come back and perform,” she said. “I want my daughter to see me participating in these events where I come back to the school and do great things with my community.”

Blast alum Trent Hughes, who is from Nashville, Tenn., echoed that love for the community and the school.

“I love my history and where I grew up. I love being around the people that shaped me to be who I am,” he said. “Coming back and doing the Blast gives me a chance to really look back to all the things that I experienced through school, all the people, all the friends that I get to come in to contact with again after not seeing them for many years. I am reminded why I am doing what I am doing and it is a nice refresher to be reminded of that every time I come home.”

Hughes and fellow Blues Brother John Gray began performing the hit “Soul Man” in 1994 and have performed all over the state. The skit remains a fan favorite.

The Summer Reunion Blast performers ranged in age from 15 to 40 years old and traveled from Detroit to Nashville and all over the Southeast to be a part of this year’s show.

While the alumni make up the driving force behind the Summer Reunion Blast, many current CCHS students also take part in the reunion shows.

“Summer Blast is a lot different than the the show that we put on during the school year as you have the alumni who come back and perform. That makes it a lot better because you get a chance to meet a lot of people that you may not have had a chance to meet were it not for the reunion shows,” said CCHS Junior Macy Minor.

Current CCHS students enjoy sharing the stage with the alumni, and there is no lack of admiration and respect by those alumni for where today’s performers have brought the show.

“I love to watch the younger cast and how much fun they have with it. It is just neat to watch them and to see that what we done years ago has changed so much and grown to become bigger and better very year,” said Dale.