Student Performers Make Blue Jay Nation Proud

President Akande cheered on Churchill Singers Sunday afternoon in the Central Missouri musical “Hands on a Hardbody” presented by Capital City Productions in Jefferson City.

“I am constantly amazed by the extraordinary talents of our students,” President Akande said. “Sophomores Kelli Slaughter from Fulton and Jack DeArmey from Overland Park, Kansas, are knocking it out of the park in this production.”

Based on real people in a 1992 documentary who entered a contest in Longview, Texas, to win a new truck by keeping one hand on it until one of them is the last person standing, this Broadway musical wraps audiences up in its plot as they learn the stories behind why ten people would enter this grueling competition to try to turn their lives around and get a piece of the American Dream.

Kelsie Slaughter plays Kelli Mangrum, a UPS clerk who needs to win the truck so she can sell it and pay off her mountain of bills.  Jack DeArmey plays young Mexican Jesus Pena, who is trying to win the truck so he can afford to go to veterinary school.

President Akande says the rich musical score of this pure Americana production will lift you up with gospel, touch your soul with blues, and get your body moving with country western rhythms.

Through all its comedy, joy, and drama, the musical also weaves serious messages about the dying out of small town businesses and employment, the prejudice faced by illegal immigrants, the psychological difficulties soldiers from combat face in returning to civilian life, and the struggle of Americans to keep affordable health care.

“Hands on a Hardbody” runs one more weekend – with performances Thursday, Friday and Saturday (February 23-25) – and President Akande urges members of the Westminster community  to go and support our students for a remarkable entertainment experience.

For details and reservations, those interested can visit

“Congratulations, Kelsie and Jack, on outstanding performances,” says President Akande. “You are making Westminster proud!”




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