Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of December 26, 2005
Lost Apostle advocates love, service
Mary's Veil creator crafts a new musical
By BILL GLEN
"The new play is to be a reminder of who we are and what we believe in."
- Sandra Brenneis
Quite a run considering her only musical experience previously was playing piano and organ at St. Peter's Parish. She wrote a couple of songs over the years for family celebrations, but nothing the magnitude of Mary's Veil.
"I always try to encourage people to live a little better each day; to be kinder, gentler and more Christlike in their willingness to be of service to God and others," Brenneis said. "I think Mary's Veil had that kind of impact."
Brenneis has penned a new work titled Lost Apostle, a 90-minute musical about finding purpose in the message of service and love. As with Mary's Veil, the cast, crew and musicians are members of the Villeneuve Choir at St. Peter's. The ensemble numbers around 40. They were an encouraging force for Brenneis to begin working on her next project.
The two-act production opens at the time of Christ, focusing on the lives of Peter, Judas, Mary Magdalene and Mary of Bethany, who question their existence before discerning their call to follow Jesus. The second act moves to present day, where the characters are offered the same opportunity to become lost to modern challenges.
"I use 'apostle' in a general term. It means messenger."
Like Mary's Veil, proceeds from Lost Apostle will go to the West Sturgeon Aging in Place Foundation to assist with the cost of a 50-room seniors centre in Villeneuve, now under construction. The intent is to keep the community's elderly close to home. The facility will feature a large recreational area for the residents as well as an Alzheimer's wing connected to the main building.
Colleen Soetaert is chair of the foundation, a non-profit organization working towards building affordable and supportive housing for seniors in the area. Communities in West Sturgeon have raised more than $500,000. Her husband Ray directed Mary's Veil and will perform the same role with Lost Apostle.
The foundation received a joint federal-provincial government grant of $2.75 million. The price tag for the facility is pegged around $5 million.
"Fallout from Mary's Veil was that the group that was involved with the project believed in Sandra's work and they believed in the project," Soetaert said.
"From them came others who believed and supported the idea with personal or corporate donations."
Brenneis hopes Lost Apostle can stir the audience to think and act beyond themselves. "Using what we have to spread an important message and to do something meaningful, whether on a small or large scale, is important," she said. "We have to take a stand against those things that get us off track. The new play is to be a reminder of who we are and what we believe in."
Lost Apostle is slated for seven performances at the Arden Theatre in St. Albert beginning Feb. 18. Three shows are already sold out. General admission tickets are $20. Call Simonne at 458-0908.
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