SPRING HILL — Nicky Chavers wrote his patriotic musical, Raise the Flag, to educate audiences as to what he says is the truth about the American Revolution.
The Southern Drama Team from the Academy of Arts of Taylors, S.C., will present the musical at 6 p.m. Sunday at Spring Hill Baptist Church. Chavers is the founder and director of the academy.
"The musical centers around a boy who is a Quaker and the decision he has to make in defending his country," Chavers said. "The purpose of this play is to reveal the fact that the American Revolution was not a revolution. It was an American defensive war."
Chavers said his research of American history indicates that the definition of "revolution" changed after the Civil War.
"It became a 'violent overthrow of an established order.' But before that, the definition was 'the setting in order of things as they should be.' '' he said. "If America was founded by rebels, who rebelled against duly constituted authority, then God in his word does not smile too keenly on that kind of rebellion because he says to be subject to the powers that be. Revisionist history has tried to make our Founding Fathers look like a bunch of rabble who rebelled against the king, and that was not true."
Chavers hopes his musical will show people that the founders of this country did not want a rebellion.
"They tried everything to avoid this happening," he said. "But God wanted this nation established as an independent nation."
Raise the Flag traces the role of Christianity in the establishment of the United States, beginning with the sacrifices of the Pilgrims and ending with a Christian view of the 9/11 attacks.
The play "demonstrates God's guiding hand in our history, as the colonies became free and independent states," says a press release for the event. "Employing professional stage lights, sounds and costumes and props, the drama team will present a deeply moving musical drama, which is sure to challenge the hearts of all Christians."
Original songs in the musical include They Raised a Standard, Washington Was His Name, Christ Hath Made Us Free and Raise the Flag.
This is the third patriotic musical for Chavers, who has written 26 historical, biblical and faith-themed plays, some of which are currently being performed by his other two drama teams in other parts of the country. Last year, the group performed a multimedia drama, The Sanctity of Life, at the church here.
Most cast members for Chavers' plays are high school and college-age students who have attended drama seminars run by the academy and who have dedicated their summer to performing. A few academy staff members and students also perform.
Chavers shared his reasons for using students for the productions.
"This is an itinerant ministry," he said. "We minister in over 1,000 churches and schools in 27 states each year. Young people (of this age) are at the point of decisionmaking in their lives. Since our purpose is to influence people through the message of the Bible, working with these young people is especially rewarding, because they will make life decisions as a result of being involved in this ministry."
Chavers, who has degrees in sacred music, music and dramatic production, and the Bible, felt his training and experience with acting and directing should be used in ministry to encourage young people to use their gifts and talents to help "make the Bible come alive." That belief led to the founding of the Academy of Arts in 1971.
"I felt like it was my responsibility, as well as that of every preacher, to make (the Bible) live again, so that the average person could be thrilled by the working of God among his creatures. I decided to communicate that through drama."