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    April 20, 2022 Lynchburg, Va. RSS |

    This Saturday’s annual “PraiseFest on Ice” — with tickets for the public available online or at the door for $6 and students admitted free with their Flames Pass — will feature 28 routines, including 19 original solo or duet performances from members of Liberty University’s figure skating team.

    The theme of this year’s event, which starts at 1:30 p.m. at the LaHaye Ice Center, is “Mercy, Peace, and Love,” taken from Jude 1:2.

    “We use our sport as an expression of worship to the Lord and skaters tried to select music related to that theme,” Lady Flames figure skating Head Coach Dawn Harter said. “It is a way for the team members to perform and for the students to come out and support them and watch them skate absolutely free.”

    Liberty’s synchronized skating team will also make three appearances, skating in the opening and closing numbers as well as performing its season-long competition routine immediately after intermission. The show will also feature a special guest appearance from pairs skating professionals Sammie Veloso, from nearby Bedford, Va., and her fiancé, Trent Nelson-Bond, a former Australian national champion.

    “They will be performing a pairs number to ‘The Muse’ from ‘Exogenesis Symphony,’” Harter said, noting that they recently signed a two-year contract to skate as a couple aboard Royal Caribbean cruise ships. “They are getting married next weekend, so they were excited about doing something expressive of their personality as a couple. They will be dedicating their performance to friends in Ukraine who are in the skating world.”

    Though Veloso never studied at Liberty, during a COVID-19-induced break in her touring schedule last year, she led a skating clinic for the Lady Flames and helped Angela Bosher (’21) put together the choreography for the closing number at the “Exhibition of Hope” last April.

    “We were trying to do things with the team to keep them motivated … (and) Sammie put a spark in the girls and helped rekindle their passion for why they love skating,” Harter said.

    The closing act, involving all of the skaters, will be performed to the song “My Jesus” by Ann Wilson.

    “We are hoping that the portrayal of that song would touch the audience’s heart and anyone who is not a believer would see the love of Jesus and (surrender their lives to Him),” Harter said, noting that it will serve as an altar call of sorts. “We want to show that the mercy, peace and love that we know comes from the Lord, and to portray through our skating how we stay connected to Him.”

    She said the synchronized skating routine, entitled “Birds Set Free,” fits beautifully into the program with the statement that “We are all set free in Christ Jesus,” Harter said.