Barton Music Department to present “A Christmas Carol”

November 12, 2014
Story by Joe Vinduska
Photos by Brandon Steinert

Barton Community College’s music department will present the timeless holiday musical classic “A Christmas Carol” at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 21 and 22 and at 2 p.m. Nov. 23 in the Fine Arts Auditorium.

The show is being directed by Barton’s Director of Chorale Activities Vern Fryberger.  He has participated in 46 musicals over a span of 35 years and has been planning this show since last summer after seeing this particular adaptation at the Denver Center for Performing Arts.

“I thought it was a great show,” he said.  “It had really good appeal.  It’s one of those shows that makes you feel good when you leave, puts you in the Christmas spirit and is just a great show to welcome in the season.”

The show tells the iconic story featuring Scrooge, Tiny Tim and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future, but this adaptation features some unique storytelling devices.

“The cast itself are the narrators,” Fryberger said.  “People step out of their character to become a narrator for the show and then step back into their character and this happens throughout the show so it’s a different type of presentation, and it makes it kind of interesting.”

Fryberger and his production team have pulled out all the stops for this show.  They have assembled a cast of over 30 with many more assisting on stage design, sound and lighting.  Many of the props have been handmade from benches and desks to individual banquet table food items like a turkey, biscuits etc., all to create an authentic look and feel. The set boasts a moveable two-story design that features many working props.  There are multiple theater tricks and special effects planned to really bring the story to life.

Fryberger said one of the main goals for this production was to reach out to the community and not only fill the seats, but to get them on stage or involved in other ways.  About two-thirds of the cast are community members he said.

“Before we even started, people were really excited,” he said.  “It’s really coming together well and everybody is having a lot of fun doing the show, and it’s important for them to have a good time doing it because as a director you’re really demanding a lot of their time.”

Community member and actress JoAnn Hildebrand said working on this musical has been a joy.  She has been involved in 12 productions at Barton dating back to the late 80s with her husband Ross.

“We’ve had a great time and Vern is just always awesome to work with and he’s always pleasant, upbeat, encouraging and positive.”

She added that the core message of this show makes it special and relatable to all.

“It’s a timeless story,” she said.  “It helps us all look at our past, look toward the future and reminds us to enjoy the present and to change the things we all need to change and to grow as people.”

Community member and actress Shelly Ramsey said the cast is top-notch.

“The music alone in this show is fantastic, and the vocalists are very strong,” she said.  “From the adults, all the way down to the kids.  I think people will be surprised to hear the amount of talent we have in this area when it comes to musicians.”

Fryberger said the generosity of the community has made the production possible.  The Denver Center for Performing Arts has also been instrumental in making the performance a reality.

“They’ve helped us out a lot,” Fryberger said. “Musicals are expensive.”

In addition, several local sponsors have stepped up to help with the show.  Dove Chevrolet is the Production Underwriter.  Other sponsors include The Great Bend Tribune, Becker Tire, Dr. Bill King, American State Bank, First Kansas Bank, Brad and Sarah Shirer and Paul and Elise Snapp.

Tickets are $10.  All seats are reserved and are available online at  Any patron needing ticket assistance can call the box office at (620) 786-1150.


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