Dec. 4 , 2006

Plenty of local talent featured in 'Amahl and the Night Visitors' performances

The Churches of St. Peter and St. Joseph in Delano and Father Michael J. Miller will present Amahl and the Night Visitors by Gian Carlo Menotti Sunday through Wednesday, Dec. 10 to 13.

The Sunday, Dec. 10 performance will be a matinee at 4 p.m., with an option for a dinner with wine after the show. The Dec. 11, 12, and 13 performances will be at 7:30 p.m. 

Archbishop Harry J. Flynn is planning to attend opening night of the play Sunday, Dec. 10.   

The cast is nearly the same when the production was performed in December 2004. This year, Doug Voerding is joining the production as drama director. Dr. Joseph Henry will again be the music director.

Henry received his doctor of musical arts degree in vocal accompanying in 1998. He was a scholarship student at New York’s Manhattan School of Music. Henry serves as a keyboardist and vocal soloist for the United States Army Reserve. He has served as music director for theatre productions presented by Lyric Opera Cleveland, Yongsan (Korea) Theatre, and Wauwatosa Community Theatre in Wisconsin.

He has performed solo, chamber, art song, and operatic literature in Europe, South America, and Asia. Dr Henry is music director for St. Peter’s and St. Joseph’s. 

Voerding has been a teacher and drama director for the past 30 years a Watertown-Mayer. There, he teaches seventh grade English and directs a musical and three-act play each year. For many years, he has also directed summer musical community theater in Rockford and Waconia. “Amahl” marks his 99th production as a director. He and his wife, Mary, live in Montrose. 

Gabrielle Arthur, a resident of Watertown, is a 10-year-old fifth grader at St. Peter’s Catholic Elementary school in Delano.

Arthur started performing on stage at 3 years of age. Since her debut, she has been working diligently at becoming what the industry calls “a triple threat,” singing, dancing, and acting.

She has been taking dance lessons for seven years. In addition to playing “Amahl” two years ago and now, Arthur has been in many school productions, and has been in Community Education productions in both Watertown and Delano for the last two summers. Singing in the Wright County Fair and State Fair talent contests has become a part of Arthur’s summer.

She has won many awards through the years at both levels of competition and really enjoys competing. Arthur has had the honor of singing the National Anthem at the Minnesota Twins baseball games six times since June 2003, including the 2003 playoff game against the New York Yankees.

Arthur is active in her church as a lector, server, and cantor, and sings at weddings. She also has been playing violin for four and a half years and piano for two.

Jeremy Arthur, Gabrielle’s father, played the part of King Kasper in the first production and will be back again in the same part. Jeremy has been involved in high school and College Theater.  He plays guitar and sings in various venues.  He is also a member of the men’s ensemble at St. Peters.  Jeremy and his wife, Holli, live in Watertown with their two daughters. 

Peg Janisch (Amahl’s Mother) is a cantor at St. Peter’s Church. She began acting in 1989 when St. Peter’s Church staged a production of “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” and she was given the role of “the mother.”

Since then, she has performed in 16 different productions in surrounding communities, besides performing her own one-woman show throughout the seven-county area. She is delighted to be back playing the part of “the mother.” Janisch and her husband live in Delano. 

Michael Schaefer, who plays King Melchior again, has been a member of the Minnesota Opera Chorus in seven productions over the last four years. Schaefer is also a cantor at St. Peter’s and has sung with the Minnesota Chorale. Schaefer and his wife live in Delano. 

Richard Kubista, who plays King Balthazar, is back again from the first production of Amahl. Kubista is a member of Holy Name Church in Medina and sings with the Minnesota Chorale. Kubista and his wife live in Delano. 

Joe McDonald has been cast as the Page and has been performing on stage since 1980. His first production was “The King and I” and since then McDonald has been in over 15 productions. McDonald and his wife live in Delano. McDonald has his own studio in Delano.

Many singers from St. Peter’s and St. Joseph’s Church choir will perform in the shepherd’s chorus. 

Tony and Linda Schaust of Delano will be back with set and costume design.    

Emily Hutter, a senior at Delano, will be in charge of choreography. 

Amy Thomas of St. Peter’s will handle the Italian dinner for the dinner show.

Amahl and the Night Visitors is a one-act opera, about an hour in length, and is sung in English. This opera is performed internationally every Christmas season, and remains one of the most frequently performed operas of the 20th Century. 

The story centers on Amahl, a poor crippled shepherd boy living with his widowed mother who find the three kings knocking at their door while following a star to Bethlehem. This is an inspiring story of how faith, charity, and unselfish love and good deeds can work miracles. 

The performances will take place in the main body of St. Peter’s Church. Tickets will be $7 for adults and $3 for children. Tickets for the dinner with show ticket on Sunday will be $20 for adults and $7 for children. This includes wine, other beverages, dinner, salad, and dessert.

The family maximum cost with children will be $50. (Two adults and two or more children.)  Tickets can be purchased at the parish office at (763) 972-2077 or at the door. 

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