Students from St. Lawrence School will present their Christmas show The Nativity Story Wednesday, December 16, with two performances in the school gym. A performance for senior citizens and area daycares will take place at 1:30 p.m. and a public performance at 7 p.m.
“The script was written by the sixth grade class with musical arrangement by music director Deb Rausch,” stated principal Brenda Anderson. This is the second year Rausch has been the music teacher at St. Lawrence and is using her music and drama background to inspire the children to create their own original program. “In helping to meet some of the educational standards in South Dakota, we are using this production to enhance their creativity and writing skills,” noted Rausch.
The sixth grade class did research for the program beginning in September. They used the books of James and Matthew from the Bible to write an outline of the play and then brought each character to life from there. “This production is all about the sixth graders,” said Rausch. “They have worked very hard and are taking great pride and ownership in this program.”
Some of the music for the show was purchased while the rest was arranged by Rausch. The second grade class also did research on the various occupations of people living in Bethlehem during Biblical times and created their own words to the tune of We Wish You A Merry Christmas.
The entire school will be in costume. “Costuming has been the biggest task, but is what the students will remember for years to come,” explained Rausch. “An anonymous donor gave $3,000 to our music program after last year’s performance. Therefore, we were able to purchase all the costumes for the show as well as musical instruments to be used in class. We are so blessed and thankful for that.”
Thirty-two preschool students will play the part of the animals in the stable with masks as costumes. Thirteen kindergarten students along with the third grade girls will be angels, while sixteen first graders will dress as sheep. Ten second grade students will play the part of the Bethlehem villagers, and the third grade boys will be the kings’ attendants. There are 13 third grade students in the show. Seventeen fourth grade students are royal soldiers. Eleven fifth graders are shepherds, and the seven sixth grade students will be featured as Mary, Joseph, Gabriel, Royal Captain, inn keepers, wise men and narrators.
“With a small class of sixth graders, we are using some of the fifth grade students to fill the additional speaking parts,” noted Rausch. The fifth grade students were in charge of creating the dance choreography for the show, and the fourth grade students were teamed up with the preschoolers in teaching them the actions.
Along with writing the script and playing the lead roles in the production, the older students will also perform musical selections using the hand chimes. The third and fourth graders will be featured with a memorized piece using recorders while the second grade class will play the xylophones.
Rausch has a bachelors and masters degree in music with a minor in drama. She owns her own music studio and has over 20 years of experience. She also writes and produces children’s plays each summer.