Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of March 21, 2005
Easter concert transforms students
St. Bernadette School play focuses on Passion, Resurrection
By BILL GLEN
WCR Staff Writer
Connie Sykora eagerly returned for an eighth year as a parent volunteer to help stage St. Bernadette Elementary School's annual concert.
The mother of three daughters, one of whom has moved onto junior high, does so not only as a labour of love, but because it enlivens her Catholic faith to witness the change in the children that she says signifies that "the message was delivered."
Along with teachers, students and support staff, Sykora was one of some 10 volunteers who had a hand in producing the school's entertaining Easter concert - Into New Life: Christ's Passion and a Celebration of Spring - March 16.
Sykora said she has seen a change in her children and in the students after a performance, not only because of their accomplishments but because they have been touched.
"The children take strength from the event," Sykora said. "You can see it from the first rehearsal to the moment of the play. They are moved to a whole different level. The children are impacted."
St. Bernadette alternates between Easter and Christmas concerts every year. Principal Troy Davies said this engages the students in two major liturgical feasts.
"The children take strength from the event."
- Connie Sykora
Victory over death
"Easter is the resurrection of Christ and spring is a season resurrected from the death of winter," he said. "The children see the triumph of spring not only in Christ's victory over death but in the signs of new life around them. For them, I think the ladybugs and butterflies speak of the glory of God."
The concert was presented in two parts beginning with St. Alphonsus pastor Father Patrick Baska playing Jesus and several Grades 4-6 students acting as the apostles and arresting guards. There was an angelic choir accompanied by students playing drums, recorders and a tambourine.
After a brief intermission, the K-Grade 3 students sang songs celebrating spring, including flowers, gardens and rain.
The gymnasium was colourfully decorated and filled with amused parents and grandparents.
"Sometimes the Christian origins of Easter can be lost to secularism," Davies said. "It is wonderful to incorporate half of our concert into the Passion because it gets back to the true message of Easter."
Davies complimented the teachers, support staff and a strong core of about 10 parent volunteers who all had a hand in putting on a very entertaining evening.
Music teacher Jacquie Annicchiarico spearheaded the production. She emphasized that the success of the play comes from the help of many.
"The Passion Play has so many details but with everyone's help, it gets done. We had the staff helping to build the garden (of Gethsemane) while others made the Last Supper table," she said.
"We try to make everything as authentic as possible. Parents made new costumes and repaired others from previous concerts. I was able to worry about the music. It is a big thing for the children and they are the ones who really pull it off. They learn their roles and they know what they are doing."
Baska said the children feel honoured when they are selected to participate in the live portion of the production. This is Baska's third concert at the school.
"It is a privilege as a pastor to be involved in one of the schools I am a part of. To associate with the children on this level is a wonderful way to touch their lives outside a classroom setting," he said.
"This makes a nice connection for the children from Christmas to Easter. It gives meaning from one to the other and the children see that without Christmas, there is no possibility for Easter to come."
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