Explore Marshfield – STICKS Group

Explore Marshfield – STICKS Group

This 4th of July, Christ Lutheran Church in Marshfield developed a special patriotic program performed by their youth STICKS ministry. STICKS (which stands for “Serving Together In Christ’s Kind Spirit”) began during Christmas of 2011, and is a performance art that utilizes dowel rods and other props executed to music.

Sandi Frederickson, a STICKS co-director and volunteer at The Highground in Neillsville, spearheaded the effort for a patriotic performance, with the ultimate goal of performing at their Freedom Celebration in June. Inclement weather forced the group to reschedule their performance to the church gymnasium the following day, but recorded to provide the opportunity for all to see.

“We thought it would be a good thing for the youth for a few reasons,” explained co-director Dana Speth of the project. “It would keep them involved at church during the summer, teach them about the importance of honoring our veterans, and teach them something that had to be very precise and respectful (they had to learn things like the proper way to salute, how to stand, and how to turn in an appropriate military style).”

The group performed to “The Star-Spangled Banner,” “God Bless America,” and Ray Boltz’ “Honor to Serve,” with the latter performance being particularly moving. Telling the story of American solider Jeremiah Denton, the song highlights the challenges military personnel face and the pride they have in serving their country. Denton, a prisoner of war in Vietnam, is most famous for alerting U.S. officials to the atrocity of POW camps in Vietnam when he heroically blinked “T-O-R-T-U-R-E” in Morse Code during a Vietnamese broadcast meant to falsely tell the world how well the prisoners were being treated.

“‘Honor to Serve’ was one that I really wanted to do as soon as I saw it and especially after I learned the story behind the song,” said Speth. “It’s such an amazing story, especially how he managed to keep his faith in God during his 8 years of captivity. He wasn’t bitter or angry at either God or his country. He saw it as his duty. I think the kids really understood what the song meant and you can really see that come through in the performance.”

Speth, along with Frederickson and co-director Stephanie O’Brien, are proud of the STICKS youth and happy to be able to share their performance with the community at large.

“I am very proud of how well all of the kids did and all of the hard work they put into it,” said Speth. “I keep crying when I watch the video, not just because of the song, but because of how proud I am of them.”

“Honor to Serve”: