Animal Pageant 2018
For the 15th consecutive year, the animals helped us celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve at 4:00 p.m. Von Thun Farms’ miniature donkey Dazzle brought the holy couple to Bethlehem and some of her stable mates, a sheep and two goats, joined her at the altar to receive, along with the shepherds keeping watch over them, the Good News from the angels. The youth choir sang two pieces, The Friendly Beasts, a French carol, and In the Bleak Midwinter, Christina Rossetti’s lovely poem set to music.
The Misses Haases, Adelaide, Olivia and Julianna were majestic, regal and serene as Wise Women, coming to a Herod (Roland Patterson) both menacing and comic to ask where to find the Baby. Kelechi Anyanwu did an excellent job as sturdy dependable Joseph. We had large angels this year (Sarah Patterson, Muna Anyanwu and Anneka Anderson) and small shepherds who handled the jostling of excited goats and sheep with calm and efficiency. They were Tommy Bond, Carl and Soren Furmanski, Uchemma Anyanwu and Noelle Rambow, the two latter of whom were dwarfed by the unruly sheep but who were unruffled by the pushing and shoving. Kudos to them both for their courage!
Special mention goes to our three principals who helped to carry the story, and invest it with much of its warmth this year. Ingrid Anderson was a small, smiling, spritely Mary who brought grace and charm to the role. Her smiling presence personified happiness and joy, which very much affected the character of the production. She created a happy, upbeat, gay atmosphere which lifted the audience into the spirit of the story: Good News of great joy to ALL people. Thank you, Ingrid!
Madeleine Rambow as Elizabeth was magnificent. It can be hard to play Elizabeth and keep the action alive through the long reading describing Elizabeth’s reaction to Mary’s visit. Madeleine did an excellent job with both face and body, her gestures made us believe that she was astounded by Mary’s visit and greatly moved, but not overwhelmed, for at the end of the reading she flung her arm around Mary’s shoulders. This touching gesture helped us to see the affectionate relationship between the cousins and made us like them and invest in the story. Her Elizabeth was expressive, warm and relational. Well done, Madeleine!
Ellie Furmanski inhabited the role of Gabriel, appearing three times to address first Mary, then Joseph, then the shepherds. Ellie’s Gabriel was elegant, austere and fierce – a determined messenger demanding attention: Look! I bring you tidings of Great Joy! Ellie’s slender figure and terrifying demeanor gave weight to the drama and lifted it away from any hint of cuteness. Ellie’s posture seemed to convey: This is joyful news I bring, but serious news, too! Heed me! A superb job in a difficult role, Ellie!
The candles lit the back wall and the windows; the readers all read with feeling. The players committed to their roles, the sheep sang with the choir and the goat pooped to the delight of the youngest there. A good time was had by all!
Rectory Open House, December 16th, 2018
Last Sunday, December 16th, the Revs Hugh & Elly Brown hosted the annual Rectory Open House at their home, following the service of Lessons & Carols. They had 12 different Christmas trees beautifully decorated! Thanks to Reed Wilson for the photos!