MWAH! Performing Arts Troupe members Lindsay Kent (from far left), Justin Smusz, and Taylor Oechsel on December 5 join a choral ensemble from Churchville Middle School in Elmhurst in the song ‘Nothing More,’ focusing on a quote by Nelson Mandela.
(Photo by Jennifer Kent)

THE STORY APPEARED  DECEMBER 9, 2016 IN FOUR MY SUBURBAN LIFE NEWSPAPERS (ELMHURST, ADDISON, VILLA PARK AND LOMBARD).

ELMHURST – Things got real Dec. 5 when a performance group focused on tackling real-life issues and making good choices visited Churchville Middle School in Elmhurst.

MWAH! Performing Arts Troupe, which stands for “messages which are hopeful,” tackled teen suicide and self-harm, child abuse, abusive relationships, alcohol and drug abuse, and stereotyping.

Joining the group, which is made up of teens, was state Rep. Patti Bellock, R-Hinsdale. A mother whose son took his own life as he was about to enter seventh grade was part of the presentation as well.

Among the highlights of the presentation was a special a cappella arrangement of a song, “You’ll Be Okay,” by four of the troupe members, in the context of the hundreds of DuPage and Cook County residents who died last year from heroin and fentanyl-related overdoses.

The presentation also featured Churchville choral members performing with the MWAH! troupe in a song written in memory of one of the first-graders who died in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting nearly five years ago.

The event also included a recognition of six Churchville student heroes and a dance finale involving Churchville students who rehearsed with the troupe.

A common thread throughout the presentation was choices and the importance of making the right ones.

Know more

MWAH! Performing Arts Troupe is an affiliate of the Chicago Area Project, a grassroots service and advocacy program, which is part of an Illinois-wide community services network targeting at-risk youth and their families. Information is available at mwah.net.