St. John Musical Tradition Involves Entire School
A community favorite, the annual spring musical at St. John Lutheran School has been a tradition since 1995.
A production of the musical “Harmony High” will take place during Lutheran Schools Week involving 169 students, a majority of the facility and staff at St. John and numerous parent volunteers.
“It will be fun for the kids and the teachers, we all have a part to play,” said Ruthann Breitwisch, a music teacher at St. John and director of the musical.
The musical “Harmony High” takes a light hearted look at a school where everyone sings rather than speaks. Each class at St. John is featured in a production number with 13 middle school students receiving main roles.
“I looked for a musical that would work for our school,” Breitwisch said. “It’s a fun little performance about kids going to a new school where everyone sings. The students sing their lessons and even the cooks sing.”
Nathan Koch, an eighth grader at St. John has taken part in every musical since he was in kindergarten and plays the role of the gym teacher at Harmony High. Last year Koch played the part of the sheriff in a production of “Wild Wild West.”
“I like performing and I like doing it for the school,” he said. “It’s always fun to have a part and say a line and to be someone else.”
Koch’s mom Sherry, a teacher at St. John, is a volunteer with the production. She has assisted with a variety of jobs in past musicals working with the actors and helping behind the scenes.
“It’s fun to see the entire school working together to making something happen,” she said. “Each child has the opportunity to be a part of it.”
The musical, which is presented as a dinner theater, takes place in the gym at St. John. Production crews transform the gym into a theater complete with a stage, sound and lights with the help of numerous volunteers.
“Our stage used to be paper boxes and our lights used to be old shop lights taped to poles,” said John Breitwisch, a middle school teacher at the school who sets up the stage and runs the sound and lighting for the show. “Now we’ve got a new sound system, cordless microphones and a 16-piece stage that locks together.”
The state of the art sound and lighting systems were purchased over the years with donations and special gifts designated specifically for the production equipment. Any proceeds from the musical are directed back into a fund for future productions.
A complete lunch or dinner is included with all but one of the performances serving up to 190 audience members each evening. The dinner show which includes shrimp or chicken cordon bleu is served by middle school students and other volunteers.
“It’s a huge undertaking,” said Meredith Heldt, a past volunteer and former president of the St. John Mother’s Club. “It’s amazing how many people come together for it. It’s a nice social and fellowship time.”
Heldt currently has two children enrolled at St. John and one older daughter who have all participated with past musicals. She says it’s something her family looks forward to every year.
“It gives the students a chance to step out and show their talents,” she said. “Each musical has a lot of fun stuff in it and all have the core Christ centered message. They can have fun and still be sharing the gospel.”
A performance only showing of the musical “Harmony High” will be held at 7 p.m. on March 5, a luncheon matinee at noon and a 6 p.m. dinner show March 7 and a 6 p.m. dinner show March 8. Advanced tickets are required. For more information contact St. John School at 715-536-7264.