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Children singing praises of "God's Top 10'

Explorer's Day Camp members and officials are preparing to bring the Ten Commandments to the stage at a Spring Hill church.

Moses will lead his flock into the sanctuary, representing the Israelites' flight from Egypt's Pharaoh.

Moses and his followers will continue with the recitation of God's Law: the Ten Commandments.

These are the opening scenes of God's Top 10, a musical presentation by the members of the Explorer's Day Camp at Spring Hill First Church of the Nazarene.

The first song will be an introduction to the Ten Commandments with the following chorus:

God's Top Ten Commandments gave us long and happy days;

God's Top Ten Commandments make up happy to obey;

God's Top Ten Commandments, through God's work of art;

God wrote them on the tablets and he writes them on our hearts.

Songs for each of the Ten Commandments will follow.

Pollyanna Hayes, who choreographed the performance, said, "It makes them feel they're doing something important for God and for the community."

Don Corzine, pastor, said the church's after-school day care center evolved into the Explorer's Day Camp. About 50 children from kindergarten through sixth grade spend 10 weeks during the summer playing and learning about religion, which, he said, "We feel is critical . . . the Ten Commandments are just basic moral codes. Whether Christian or whatever faith, they apply," Corzine said.

Corzine said his wife, Renee, director of the preschool, came across the program while browsing through a Christian bookstore.

Corzine mentioned the idea to a staffer.

"He liked the idea that there were 10 weeks in the summer program and Ten Commandments, and the songs are really catchy," Corzine said.

"The orchestration from the program is from a tape, and (the kids) perform with narration and dramatization as well as songs and motions."

This is the third year of Explorer's Day Camp, and Corzine said word of mouth is helping it grow.

"The advantages over a county-type summer program is there are smaller groups for teachers to contend with," he said.

Corzine said he plans on doing something special each year: "Parables that have neat implications, major Bible characters . . . that kind of thing."

"I would venture to guess that every one of those kids will be able to repeat the Ten Commandments, at least the gist of them, for the rest of their lives," Corzine said.

The Rev. Wesley Wright, who has been with the Nazarene church for about a year, is in charge of the program for God's Top 10.

"The songs are so catchy even the ones who aren't typically singers _ boys and older ones who usually are intimidated by that kid stuff _ are enjoying it," Wright said.

Wright said he is already beginning to look for something for next year's program.

"I probably won't find anything as good as this, but we'll do something. The parents are really enthusiastic because the kids are actually learning something. We're not just a baby-sitting service," he said.

Hayes, 43, has been choreographing Christian musicals for almost 15 years.

She tries to interpret the song for the singers and, she said, "Sometimes the kids do something original and we allow that to happen."

There will be between 20 and 40 youngsters performing, and the program will last about 45 minutes, depending on the number of participants.

The singers will probably be dressed in a Christian-oriented T-shirt and a colored sash. Moses most likely will carry a staff. Other characterizations will include a "husband and wife" to portray the parts in the fifth commandment, "Honor your father and mother," and a boy representing the eighth commandment, "Thou shall not steal." There will be other minor characterizations.

The Explorer's Day Camp participants, who are of different denominations and races, will perform a song for each of the Commandments, pantomiming, choreographing and narrating.

"I feel privileged the church has allowed me to do this," Hayes said. She added that the staff has worked hard to present God "in a way that the kids can see he's real. We're putting this together to glorify God."

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