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MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. – McConnell youths perform in the musical “The Little Mermaid” July 14 at the base theater. The musical was produced by the Missoula Children's Theater and performed by Team McConnell youths who only had a week of training before the play. (Photo by Tech. Sgt. Chyrece Campbell)

MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. – McConnell youths perform in the musical “The Little Mermaid” July 14 at the base theater. The musical was produced by the Missoula Children's Theater and performed by Team McConnell youths who only had a week of training before the play. (Photo by Tech. Sgt. Chyrece Campbell)

MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. -- Team McConnell members, Lindsey Burdick, 10, Jenny Burdick, 12, and Lora Collins, 11, review their lines before performing in a production of the musical “The Little Mermaid" July 14 at the base theater. The musical was produced by the Missoula Children's Theater and performed by Team McConnell youths who only had a week of training before the play. (Photo by Tech. Sgt. Chyrece Campbell)

MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. -- Team McConnell members, Lindsey Burdick, 10, Jenny Burdick, 12, and Lora Collins, 11, review their lines before performing in a production of the musical “The Little Mermaid" July 14 at the base theater. The musical was produced by the Missoula Children's Theater and performed by Team McConnell youths who only had a week of training before the play. (Photo by Tech. Sgt. Chyrece Campbell)

MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. -- Jill Slayden, a pianist and Fredranique Lewis, a McConnell youth, review a song before performing in a production of the musical “The Little Mermaid” July 14 at the base theater. The musical was produced by the Missoula Children's Theater and performed by Team McConnell youths who only had a week of training before the play. (Photo by Tech. Sgt. Chyrece Campbell)

MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. -- Jill Slayden, a pianist and Fredranique Lewis, a McConnell youth, review a song before performing in a production of the musical “The Little Mermaid” July 14 at the base theater. The musical was produced by the Missoula Children's Theater and performed by Team McConnell youths who only had a week of training before the play. (Photo by Tech. Sgt. Chyrece Campbell)

MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. -- Virginia Halpin, mother of Col. Donald J. Halpin, 22nd Air Refueling Wing Commander, watches her granddaughter Margaret Halpin, 9, perform in a production of "The Little Mermaid" musical July 14 at the base theater. The musical was produced by the Missoula Children's Theater and performed by Team McConnell youths who only had a week of training before the play. (Photo by Tech. Sgt. Chyrece Campbell)

MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. -- Virginia Halpin, mother of Col. Donald J. Halpin, 22nd Air Refueling Wing Commander, watches her granddaughter Margaret Halpin, 9, perform in a production of "The Little Mermaid" musical July 14 at the base theater. The musical was produced by the Missoula Children's Theater and performed by Team McConnell youths who only had a week of training before the play. (Photo by Tech. Sgt. Chyrece Campbell)

MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. -- Lacy Habdas, a member of the Missoula Children's Theater, applies stage make-up to Maddie Oberly, 10, as A'Keeys Jones, 9, looks on -- as the girls prepare to perform in a production of the musical “The Little Mermaid" July 14 at the base theater The musical was produced by the Missoula Children's Theater and performed by Team McConnell youths who only had a week of training before the play. (Photo by Tech. Sgt. Chyrece Campbell)

MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. -- Lacy Habdas, a member of the Missoula Children's Theater, applies stage make-up to Maddie Oberly, 10, as A'Keeys Jones, 9, looks on -- as the girls prepare to perform in a production of the musical “The Little Mermaid" July 14 at the base theater The musical was produced by the Missoula Children's Theater and performed by Team McConnell youths who only had a week of training before the play. (Photo by Tech. Sgt. Chyrece Campbell)

MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. -- Noah Lewis, and Allyson Skillman, McConnell youths, play town criers in a production of the musical “The Little Mermaid” July 14 at the base theater. The musical was produced by the Missoula Children's Theater and performed by Team McConnell youths who only had a week of training before the play. (Photo by Tech. Sgt. Chyrece Campbell)

MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. -- Noah Lewis, and Allyson Skillman, McConnell youths, play town criers in a production of the musical “The Little Mermaid” July 14 at the base theater. The musical was produced by the Missoula Children's Theater and performed by Team McConnell youths who only had a week of training before the play. (Photo by Tech. Sgt. Chyrece Campbell)

MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. -- Driana Solomon, 6, Team McConnell youth, performs a solo as Lanella Zotter, a member of the Missoula Children's Theater, listens during a production of the musical “The Little Mermaid" July 14 at the base theater. The musical was produced by the Missoula Children's Theater and performed by Team McConnell youths who only had a week of training before the play. (Photo by Tech. Sgt. Chyrece Campbell)

MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. -- Driana Solomon, 6, Team McConnell youth, performs a solo as Lanella Zotter, a member of the Missoula Children's Theater, listens during a production of the musical “The Little Mermaid" July 14 at the base theater. The musical was produced by the Missoula Children's Theater and performed by Team McConnell youths who only had a week of training before the play. (Photo by Tech. Sgt. Chyrece Campbell)

MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. -- In just six days or preparation time and after only 37 hours of practice, the Missoula Children's Theater organized a full musical play of "The Little Mermaid" at McConnell's theater July 14.

This was not a Broadway show, with Broadway performers, but a local play performed by 47 McConnell youths.

"It was fun learning our parts," said Lindsey Burdick, 10, a Team McConnell family member who played the prince in the play. "This is my second time being in a Missoula Children's Theater play. I can not wait until next year."

Since 2001, the Missoula Children's Theater has made seven visits to McConnell. The tour teams from Missoula develop the personal and professional skills and goals of McConnell youths through performing arts.

"Our accommodations here at McConnell are the best," said Lacy Habdas, a Missoula Children's Theater cast member. "The staff at the youth center has done an outstanding job keeping the children organized, making our job to teach easier"

The musical had children as young as 5 years old playing seahorses. The show consisted of songs, dance and acting. The Little Mermaid," conceived and written by Jim Caron, is about the desires of four mermaids wanting to see the world above the water. The youngest mermaid finds out in her quest that the land above is not all that is seems and what she was looking for has been right before her eyes at home with her family and friends. More than 100 proud parents and friends attended the performance. The show ended with a loud applause.

"I'm so proud of the children," said Lanella Zotter, a Missoula Children's Theater cast member. "They really did a good job pulling it all together."

The Missoula Children's Theater has 43 two-person teams. Its teams have been touring around the world for more than 30 years, visiting more than 1000 communities and providing week-long theater training to children. The children not only hone their acting skills, but they also learn about what goes on before the production and behind the stage; filling roles such as assistant directors, make-up artists and stage set up personnel.

"My daughter has been in several dance and performance studios, and we have had to pay for lessons, costumes, hall rental and all kinds of expenses ranging up $245. But, to have my daughter, Emily, in a musical were everything is provided at no cost to the parents or the base is great," said Tech. Sgt. Heather Moody from the 22nd Air Refueling Wing command chief's office.