22nd Summer Blast a hit in Chilton County

Published 4:18 pm Tuesday, July 25, 2023

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By Carey Reeder | Managing Editor

Summer Blast 2023 was a massive success inside the Chilton County High School auditorium on July 21-22. The 22nd installment of the show that got its start in 2001 was a hit in the county as residents packed the auditorium full both nights.

“I think the show went really well,” Blast from the Past coordinator Sheri McKee said. “The kids and adults all did awesome. The show turned out great, and I do not think anyone thought it was not worth their evening out. So much talent was on display.”

Both nights presented the same show, and McKee was pleased with the different types of music and performances there were featured in the show, and the talent everyone showcased.

Summer Blast 2023 had 25 current high school students, 15 former members of Blast who just graduated or are still in college and 15 “Across the Years” members from Blast shows as far back as the first one in 1993.

“When you are getting kids from across that many years, and you are doing an all-star version, you get some incredible talent,” McKee said.

One of those performers who returned for Summer Blast this year and was a member of the first show was Kristy Seamon. Seamon performed “Does He Love You” and “I Am A Woman” in this year’s Summer Blast.

“It has grown tremendously since we started it. We just wanted to have fun and produce these songs. To see the kids and growth they have had has been cool to see,” Seamon said. “I absolutely loved (the show this year). It was fun getting to interact with the kids, and it is cool now that it is not just Chilton County High School students but countywide. You get to meet people you normally would not.”

McKee said many of the performers, such as actor Grayson Russell, had to move things around in their schedules to be able to clear two weekends for Summer Blast that included the dress rehearsal on July 15. Russell, who is touring this summer, left two weekends open to return to Chilton County and participate in Summer Blast.

Former standout CCHS football player Kevin Staffney II, who is gearing up for his second season of football at Avila University, made the drive from Missouri to participate in Summer Blast. Other participants sacrificed their time and plans to participate, and some only had the dress rehearsal to practice as a group. However, they all made it work.

“It is always awesome to see all of that come together,” McKee said. “We had adults go straight from work to practice with us, and we had high school kids who worked around summer camps, jobs and vacations, and they all managed to find the time to practice.”

McKee said that for many Blast participants, getting back on stage is a great feeling and a rush, one of the reasons she feels that brought them back. Kaitlin Mims, who did Blast from the Past from 2017-2020, returned to do Summer Blast this year. She recalls some of the shows when she was in elementary school growing up in Chilton County and has seen everything that comes with the show continue to grow.

“I feel like everything has become much bigger,” Mims said. “I remember back to my elementary school experiences, and the dances are much bigger and the songs feel like they are productions now rather than just singing and dancing. There are some phenomenally talented singers and dancers within Chilton County.”

Mims was in nine different songs and performances at Summer Blast this year. She thought the show went great and she enjoyed seeing all of the generations from the show come together for one production.

McKee will now turn her attention to planning the Blast from the Past show for next spring. Those interested in participating in the 2024 Blast from the Past show can be on the lookout for information that will be passed out by McKee in October at all of the schools. Dancer and singer evaluations will be in December, followed by practice in January and February before the show on Feb. 23-24, 2024.