Cooper Hart, theatre sophomore, transports an armful of skirts on Saturday in an effort to move all of the theatre costumes out of the house behind Reid into the new theatre tech center. Students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members made up the 26-person crew who worked from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. (Samantha Gillis/Collegian photographer)

By Erica Dunigan
Staff reporter

Christmas music won’t start playing on the radio until after Thanksgiving, but students have already started preparing the Christmas opera “Amahl and the Night Visitors.” The opera will be performed this Christmas season in addition to long standing tradition “Eagerheart”.
“Amahl and the Night Visitors”, originally composed in 1951 to be broadcast on NBC, is an opera about a young disabled boy. Amahl and his mother are visited by three kings who are on a journey to deliver gifts to a wondrous child. The story unfolds to tell the story of the birth of Jesus in a different point of view.
David Gardner, professor of music, said, “The earliest memory of my life is being at a performance of this play on my third birthday. My mom was playing the role of the mother. Then when I was in high school I got to play the role of King Balthazar. This opera holds a lot of memory and history.”
December will be busy for performers. The play, to be performed Dec. 3, involves students from theatre, orchestra, and choir.
At the same time, the theatre department is preparing for “Eagerheart.” The orchestra and choir are preparing for their own concerts.
Gardner said, “Combining the music department with the theater department has been really interesting and fun. We have worked so well together, and we knew this was going to be a busy time.”
Allyson Moon, professor of theatre, said, “We had to be very careful with creating a schedule to make sure the actors have some free time. With ‘Eagerheart’ also going on during December, and with having actors in both shows, we had to make sure it didn’t get too stressful.”
Blake Carter, new media senior, said, “It’s very time consuming. With me being in both shows I really had to look at my schedule, so I could manage my time and making sure I’m studying certain classes.”
“We have been in rehearsal for about one week. It’s been really neat with how students are interacting with the music. Not only do we have 20th century opera, but a little bit of jazz too. There is a much more immediate impact, and a more understanding of the storyline. It’s coming to life,” said Gardner.

Moon said, “Anyone who might think that it is an opera, something they might not enjoy, will be surprised. It is about the travels of the kings for a child, baby Jesus. I think that anyone that is moved by the story of the birth of Jesus at Christmas time and sacrifice will enjoy ‘Amahl.’”

Erica Dunigan is a junior majoring in professional communications. You may e-mail her at erica.dunigan@sckans.edu.