Lighthouse Theater Brings Nashville to Mid-Missouri

1 decade 7 months 4 weeks ago February 01, 2006 Feb 1, 2006 Wednesday, February 01 2006 Wednesday, February 01, 2006 4:15:54 PM CST in News

Gas stations, rest stops, and restaurants, they're all right off the highway. But another attraction might make you look twice.

These days the Millersburg exit sounds more like Nashville.

"We've done patriotic and gospel and bluegrass," said Hazel Kinder of the Lighthouse Theatre. "We had two elvis impersonators, of course I didn't get to sing that show because I don't look too much like elvis."

But Kinder is the queen of this place. She performs, and her husband, Steve, runs the show behind the scenes.

"We can change the colors on the stage ... the background of the stage," Kinder said. "It's fun every time. It never gets old."

In fact, the Lighthouse Theatre is brand new.

"It was just a day after day routine. Figuring out how to put these steel beams up was difficult," Steve said.

They built the theater from scratch with their own hands.

"As a local artist I never got to sing on a professional stage, and I really want to do that for the people who sing and do this like I do." he said.

No matter who you are, Hazel and Steve will put you on stage and treat you like family. They even raised their own family with music.

"We did 'If you're happy and you know it clap your hands', 'The wheels on the bus go round and round', you know we sang all the time in the car," Steve said. "Those are really sweet memories.

Hazel turned to music when five-year-old David died from a rare disease, Neimann-Pick Type C.

"It was tough." She said, "But, I always had my guitar and would sing to them a lot."

But it was tough to find the time between visits to the hospital, as doctors diagnosed Paul and Jonathan with the same disease.

"My son Paul couldn't talk, so he would raise a hand or a foot and I sang it to him every morning." Hazel said. "If I didn't sing it, he reminded me by raising his hand or foot. And there were several times when I sang it, a tear would run down his little cheek."

Paul died when he was seven. Jonathan was four.

"I'll never be a grandma and I know that and I live with that." She said. "I never got to see kids graduate. I never heard my kids complete a sentence."

But the boys help complete the theatre.

"It would be nice if they could be part of it, it really would be," She said.

Now, Steve and Hazel only hope the theater strikes a chord with mid-Missouri. The Kinder's last child died in 1998. Niemann-Pick Type C is a disorder where too many fatty materials get into some of the body's cells. Eventually it shuts down the nervous system.

The next Lighthouse Theater show is Feb. 25. Visit their web site or call 573-474-4040 for more information.

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