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Fifty-Three United Methodist Church of the Dunes Members Dance, Sing and March at Coast Guard Parade | Arts & Culture

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Fifty-Three United Methodist Church of the Dunes Members Dance, Sing and March at Coast Guard Parade
Fifty-Three United Methodist Church of the Dunes Members Dance, Sing and March at Coast Guard Parade

AUGUST 9, 2011, GRAND HAVEN, MICH. - Fifty-three members of the United Methodist Church of the Dunes turned out singing, dancing, and marching to honor and celebrate the U.S. Coast Guard at the annual U.S. Coast Guard Festival Grand Parade on August 6th in Grand Haven.

Despite a torrential downpour throughout the parade, church members braved the elements and remained in step during the two-mile parade route.

Members of the United Methodist Church of the Dunes have marched in the Coast Guard Festival Grand Parade four years, and are becoming known for their choreographed dance steps, memorable music selections and lively costumes.  For more than two months, individuals participating in the church's marching routine have practiced counting out rhythms, coordinating hand and foot steps to music, and maintaining straight rows as they learned to march together as a team.

Bonnie Buckley, a UMC-Dunes church member, is responsible for creating the routine for the marchers and teaching them the steps.  A group of women from the church met at the church for several "sewing circles," where they cut out patterns and sewed together selected costume elements for all of the persons who marched in the parade.

Marchers wore lime green, yellow and fuschia tee-shirts with their names embroidered on the fronts of the shirts.

Another member, Ron Meschke, volunteered his time by driving a truck with two, large speakers in the back truck bed that amplified the music for the marchers to step to along the parade route.  As the marchers danced along, the Festival goer's sang out and cheered.

Buckley sourced out various marching themes by going online, listening to different music and considering how to pattern dance steps and coordinating hand motions to the various rhythms.

In previous years, members of the United Methodist Church of the Dunes have marched to music with hand drills that carried U.S. flags which twirled around and other unique props.

"We had alot of fun, despite the weather," said Buckley.  "But, beginning now, we will start working on developing a theme and selecting the right music for next year's Coast Guard Festival."

The Festival stages the floats, marchers, cars and other vehicles participating in the event in the UMC-Dunes' parking lot just blocks from the downtown area.

The United Methodist Church of the Dunes is located at 717 Sheldon Road in Grand Haven.  Two church services are held each Sunday, from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. and from 10:15 to 11:15 a.m.

Anyone interested in visiting or joining the UMC-Dunes, receiving further information or contacting the main office should call 616/842-7980.