Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of December 15, 2003
Villeneuve play raises funds for seniors home
By RAMON GONZALEZ
"There is a lot to Mary in her commitment, in her faith and her act of service."
- Sandra Brenneis
But Father Paul Terrio, the parish's pastor at the time, notices talent when he sees it and one day in late 2001 he suggested Brenneis compose a play to raise funds for a seniors' home.
"Once he suggested it, the songs and the lyrics just started coming," she explained.
"Very soon I had enough music together that I came to the choir and I said, 'Why don't we try this.' They all jumped (at the idea)." In November 2001 the group started rehearsing.
In the musical, which features 23 songs joined through narration, four women portray Mary in four different stages of her life, including nativity of Jesus, public ministry of Jesus, crucifixion and Mary's assumption.
"It's a great story to be told," said Colleen Soetaert, who plays Mary in a later stage. "It's about a mother losing her child. For the actors and singers it has been a gift to be a part of it." Colleen's husband Ray, a teacher in Riviere Qui-Barre, is the play's director.
Brenneis sings the last song of the play, I Know You, which is Mary's dedication to God. She also conducts the choir.
"My hope was that people would connect with Mary as a real person, as a woman called to service and really see a human side of her life," Brenneis said. "There is a lot to Mary in her commitment, in her faith and her act of service."
The cast consists of 38 people, including 33 actors and five musicians, all of them members of the Villeneuve Choir at St. Peter's Parish. Costumes for the actors were made out of used garments and old curtains bought at second-hand stores.
All the profits from the ticket and CD sales ($20 each) will go the West Sturgeon Aging in Place Foundation to build a 50-suite facility that will allow Villeneuve and area seniors to remain in their community. It will be built on 10 acres of land west of Villeneuve's main street at a cost of about $5 million.
Soetaert, who is also a member of the foundation board of directors, hopes the facility will start going up in about two years. Connected to the main building will be an Alzheimer's wing and a large recreation area for seniors.
"It is completely needed," she said. "Our seniors who need extra help have to go to Barrhead or Westlock and that's too far away. We need them here."
There are at least 65 area seniors who are receiving help somewhere else because there is no facility in Villeneuve.
For tickets to Mary's Veil call Simonne at 458-0908.
Shows will be held Sundays Feb. 22 and 29 at 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. and on Feb. 23, 27 and 28 at 7:30 p.m.
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