And now for something completely different… no, not a Monty Python Show but rather a biblical musical comedy performed at a Canadian Moravian Church!
In June, Good Shepherd Moravian Church in Calagary hosted “And on the Sixth Day…” a fun biblical musical comedy by Jack Sharkey and Dave Reiser with a cast of 11 singers and actors.
“And on the Sixth Day…” is a full length musical in two acts. Act one covered Creation including the Garden of Eden, the Flood, Abraham with Sarah and Isaac, Sodom and Gomorrah, Esau with his brother Jacob, Moses leading his people out of Egypt and the falling of the walls of Jericho. Act two included Samson and Delilah, Jonah, King David and Bathsheba, Daniel in the Lion’s Den and concluded with the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem.
The majority of the cast were Moravians. The rest were talented performers who we invited to join our group. Two of the cast were professional music teachers who helped guide us through the difficult musical score. Lana Miller, a member of our congregation and retired drama teacher directed the play; Jean Hergert, an accomplished pianist provided the accompaniment; and two men in the congregation looked after the lighting and sound.
This was a real leap of faith that started last year when Lana made a proposal to the church board and then proceeded to match people to the parts in the play. The cast put in many hours of rehearsal and learned to change costumes quickly, change props off stage, do choreographed dancing and get along with each other (and actually enjoyed the challenge)!
Rehearsals started in mid-February in the church sanctuary, with performances in June. We opened to a full house on the first night and to about 100 people on the second night. Although Calgary and Edmonton are 186 miles apart, there were some Moravians who attended from Edmonton Moravian churches.
The royalty fees for this musical comedy were graciously paid for by GSC’s mission funds. We were also pleased to receive grant money from Shell Canada (as two members of our church are retired Shell employees) to help pay for some of our other costs. Various Calgary groups generously loaned us costumes, lights and staging materials.
All money raised was designated for the HUKWAFA project (one of the Likewise Ministries of the Board of World Missions)—at last count, with ticket sales and donations, we were at $6000. Although all the money raised was donated to the HUFWAFA Project, our church was able to purchase some basic lighting equipment with some of the Shell grant money for future performances.
We were blessed with many talented people (singers/performers) in our two Moravian congregations in Calgary, as well as other individuals from the community, who were so willing to contribute their time and talents to this project.
Our audiences were mostly adult, with some older children, who were all reminded of the struggles in Biblical times but with a comical twist! ■
Ann Tyrell is member of Good Shepherd Moravian Church, Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Photos by David Briant.