Metro-East Living

Experience the story of Christmas in a new way with first-time student production

Art and theater teacher Zach Schnare with junior Jillian Chapman with some of the hand-crafted miniature manger scenes made by students involved in the Journey of the Manger event. It will be held Friday night at Metro East Lutheran High School in Edwardsville.
Art and theater teacher Zach Schnare with junior Jillian Chapman with some of the hand-crafted miniature manger scenes made by students involved in the Journey of the Manger event. It will be held Friday night at Metro East Lutheran High School in Edwardsville. snagy@bnd.com

Students at Metro East Lutheran High School in Edwardsville are doing some serious multitasking on Friday night.

They’re telling the story of Jesus’ birth, putting to use their skills in writing, art, music and theater and raising money for the school’s fine arts program by hosting a walking tour called “Journey to the Manger.”

“It’s also a great way to share our school’s mission of a Christ-centered environment,” said senior Kaylee Collins, 17.

More than 40 students are involved in the Christmas production, as well as alumni who will serve as actors, plus live animals that will be part of a stable scene.

Students wrote scripts for skits that will be performed at stations along the indoor and outdoor tour route.

“We wrote the part where Caesar Augustus sent out the decree that everybody needs to return to their hometown,” said senior Megan Jacobsen, 18, who partnered with Kaylee.

“We read the (Bible) verse or two that mentions it, then we just came up with about a minute-and-a-half scene that would tell that part of the story.”

The school choir will sing and the school band will play in the gymnasium, where people can socialize and eat cookies before or after the tour.

“Journey to the Manger” will take place from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday. Admission is free; donations are welcome. Parents will sell homemade cookies, and art students will showcase their handmade ceramic nativity scenes.

“If you donate over $25, you get a nativity scene,” said sophomore Victoria Roderick, 16.

Fine arts chair Zach Schnare came up with the idea to stage the production as a fundraiser for the school’s new Fine Arts Booster Club.

It was planned for two days before Christmas to give families something to do after finishing their shopping and other errands, particularly those hosting family or friends from out of town.

“It not only gives us a chance to fundraise, but also to give back to the community and witness the Christmas story,” said music director Zac Brumbaugh, who is helping Schnare.

Students have tried to have a little fun with the planning process, incorporating jokes into the script. In one scene, characters have trouble pronouncing Biblical names.

Schnare views this year as a test run and hopes to make “Journey to the Manger” an annual event. The school is at 8305 Center Grove Road in Edwardsville.

“We’re going to have people directing traffic dressed up as shepherds,” Kaylee said.

At a glance

  • What: “Journey to the Manger”
  • Where: Metro East Lutheran High School, 6305 Center Grove Road in Edwardsville
  • When: 5 to 8 p.m. Friday
  • Admission: Free; donations welcome
  • Refreshments: Seasonal drinks served; cookies available for purchase
  • Information: Contact Lisa Masters at 618-920-9687 or master5are@charter.net
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