School play shares the real meaning of Christmas
By Nissa LaPoint
Photo by James Baca/DCR
Students at St. Bernadette School shouted out the true meaning of Christmas last week to friends, family and faculty at their annual Christmas play.
During the concluding song of the play titled “Dude, You Hear What I Hear?” the kindergarten through fifth-grade students raised their voices and belted out, “Sing out the name of Jesus. He has come to save us. Shout it out for the world to hear.”
The conclusion brought art and music teacher Diane Johnson, the play director, to tears.
“That just gets me because (I can see) those words have gone into their hearts,” Johnson said about the message of Christ and his coming. “I can see it in their eyes and in their faces.”
The play received applause and a standing ovation from the audience seated in the gymnasium of the Lakewood school Dec. 15.
The production from the Little Big Stuff Music publishing company was created to relay that the message of Christmas is not about shopping and presents but about celebrating Christ’s birth.
Sixth-grade students acted in the play set in the Mondo-Mart shopping store. Madeleine Lowrey, 11, starred as lead actress playing Taylor, a young girl who found herself locked in the store after business hours. Taylor soon discovered she’s not alone when the mannequins in the store come alive and don’t know about Jesus and his birth.
Instead, the mannequins have learned about Christmas from holiday music played over the store intercom.
“Christmas, as we all know, lasts for 12 days in December, even though it starts just after Halloween now,” explained the character Tatiana, a mannequin played by sixth-grader Reina Heller.
“It was started by a man named Felix Navidad,” Tatiana continued, “and his wife Mary Kalikimaka. They lived in a place called ‘Who-ville.’ They wore red-rose rain gear; they each had five golden wings…”
Before grabbing a Bible, Lowrey said, “Oh, brother. That’s not Christmas.
“For right now,” she said, “you just need to know that Christmas is about Jesus and when he came to live on earth with the people he created.”
Between music and readings of the Nativity story from the Bible, Lowrey explained the story of Christmas to the mannequins in the store.
The students who donned matching T-shirts for the play designed by Principal James Feldewerth all joined in singing “Come, O Come, Emmanuel,” “God is With Us” and “I Offer Him My Life” between scenes in the play.
Before the last song, Lowrey held up a Bible and exclaimed to the crowd, “It’s all right here. There is good news of great joy for all the people.
“A savior has been born, and he is Christ the Lord. Give God the glory.”
Then the student cast bowed to the applauding audience, and the fifth-grade students came on stage dressed as the Holy Family, shepherds and wise men to create a Nativity scene.
Sitting in the front row was Marilyn and Vince Deitrick, who came to watch their two grandchildren in the play.
“With what little they have, it’s an excellent production,” Marilyn Deitrick said. “Their music director here does such a marvelous job.”
Feldewerth thanked the audience and faculty for their support and help with the play, and thanked Johnson for putting the production together.
“These children just blow me away,’ Feldewerth said. “The reason it’s so incredible this year is Mrs. Johnson models Jesus for the kids.”
Johnson began work on the play by making costumes with a $49 budget and building the set while working with the children to memorize the songs and their lines. With the help of volunteers and the seventh-grade class, the set was put together and in place for the two performances of the play last week.
“This is kind of a hard play but they came through,” Johnson said.