UCC will bring Christmas Carol to life musically; proceeds go to Make-A-Wish

UCC will bring Christmas Carol to life musically; proceeds go to Make-A-Wish In a rehearsal session for the upcoming production of A Christmas Carol, old Ebenezer Scrooge (Chuck Thatcher), left, looks on as his younger self (Scott Taylor), right, talks to his lady friend Belle (Ashley Thompson), center, who is about to leave him. The scene is also watched by the Ghost of Christmas Past (Rebecca Gehm), in the background. A Christmas Carol will be presented Dec. 15, 16 and 18 at 7 p.m. and Dec. 17 at 3 p.m. at the United Church of Christ. "God bless us, everyone!"

Tiny Tim's classic line will echo through the sanctuary of the Vermillion United Church of Christ, Congregational as the church presents a musical version of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol Dec. 15-18.

In addition to providing seasonal entertainment, all proceeds earned from the play will help an area child get her wish to take a Disney cruise through the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Performances are Dec. 15, 16 and 18 at 7 p.m., and Dec. 17 at 3 p.m. at the United Church of Christ, 226 E. Main Street, Vermillion. Area families with connections to Make-A-Wish have been invited to a dress rehearsal on Dec. 14.

Tickets may be purchased at Davis Pharmacy, Nook 'n Cranny and the United Church of Christ with a $5 donation for a child's ticket and a $10 donation for an adult ticket.

Over 70 church members and friends have devoted hours of time to this production, making it a true community project. With the church sanctuary completely transformed by construction of a large stage, the cast and orchestra will take the audience back in time to Victorian England, reintroducing them to Scrooge, the Crachit family and the ghosts of Christmas Past, Christmas Present and Christmas Future.

"Anthony Burbach and George Schlenker have spent hours transforming the front of the church into a two-level theatre, large enough to hold the 70 players," said Jeanne Dahlin, musical director.

The ambitious project is directed by Buffie Main.

"Of course, the story is connected with Christmas themes and it seemed like there is also a great connection with the Make-A-Wish idea, so we had to do it," she said. "We also have a lot of congregation members with connections to the old community summer musical, so this is a logical project for us. We hope families will make the play part of their Christmas plans."

The cast includes all ages: from 5-years-old, to teenagers and college students, to 70-years-old. Some of the musical numbers, adapted from the Muppett Christmas Carol, feature the children's choir.

Among others in the cast, University of South Dakota Law School Professor Chuck Thatcher is Scrooge. The spirits are played by Don Dahlin, Rebecca Gehm, Chris Hoover and Gene Brinkmeyer. The Crachit family is Steve Miller, Jill Tyler, four of their children, Sam, Caleb, Leah and Seth as Tiny Tim, Nicole Orr and Madison Miller.

"The church elected to do the project as a fund raiser for Make-A-Wish and specifically to sponsor a wish for at least one child," Dahlin said. "Any proceeds earned in excess of the child's wish will be donated to the Make-A-Wish Foundation's general fund."

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