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Kiowa County Signal - Kiowa County, KS
  • REVIEW: At Barclay pageant Heaton, Stewart, trio dazzle

  • The Barclay College “Christmas Pageant,” a bi-annual theatrical telling of the birth of Jesus Christ, entertained audiences for another year. Attendees from all over the county and Kansas flocked to Hockett Auditorium for the winter event that features singing, live animals and a smidge of comic relief.


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  • The Barclay College “Christmas Pageant,” a bi-annual theatrical telling of the birth of Jesus Christ, entertained audiences for another year. Attendees from all over the county and Kansas flocked to Hockett Auditorium for the winter event that features singing, live animals and a smidge of comic relief.
    The pageant, which was started in the basement of nearby Friend’s Church by former Barclay president Herb Frazier, tells the story of the birth of Jesus, through song. More than 100 actors, stagehands and featured soloists performed spiritual songs, some contemporary and some traditional, that told the story of Christ’s birth from Mary’s immaculate conception to the birth of Jesus in the manger.
    Audiences mention the live camels as one of the biggest draws of the pageant, along with the bible stories, presented through song.
    Julie Heaton, in a wonderful portrayal as Mary, dazzled with a number of strong vocal performances, including tender renditions of “My Soul Magnifies the Lord,” “Gift of Love” and “Breath of Heaven” which she performed while balanced on an impatient donkey. Though Mark Heaton’s performance as the searching and faithful Joseph was not nearly as vocally strong as his wife’s, his portrayal of the man who was the father to the son of God, overcame any auditory imperfections. “We Will Walk Together,” a duet by the couple was well informed by their off-stage marriage.
    Ben Stewart, a pageant performer two years ago, was absolutely magnetizing in his performance of “Please Send Messiah.”  The Gale Rose tune, arranged by Ed Davis, balances the sweet innocence of youth, with the profound prayers of a young boy waiting for a messenger from god. Stewart, a 10-year-old Haviland native and son of Kiowa County vocal teacher Kim Stewart, displayed a natural talent and poise not seen very often in young men of his age.
    Another highlight of the pageant was “Shepherds Beside Themselves” performed wonderfully by Kris Hanzlicek, Barclay music major Tyler Millikin and Haviland local Steve Davis. Hanzlicek and Davis are longtime performers in the pageant. Music Director Jared Ross explained why they appeared so confident and comfortable, “Kris and Tyler have done it forever,” he said.
    One of the most enjoyable selections of the program, and it’s only purposeful comedic moment, was the “Shepard’s Hill” scene performed by Matthew and Jacob Newton, Jesse Spencer, Eliot Hinshaw, Tyler Millikin, Jesse Waller, Matthew Schaefer and Leonard Pohl.  The ensemble followed their pious performance of “O Holy Night” with the fun, lighthearted “Shepherds Beside Themselves” written by Jimmy Owens.
    The large choir was quite impressive as well. The group of 60-70 people performed as background and supporting actors for the Bethlehem street scenes. All of their musical numbers were robust and quite enjoyable.
    “Most of them are my college choir and we’ve been working on this stuff since September,” said Ross. “I try to explain to them what to expect, but they don’t really get an idea until they get in here. It gets interesting when they have to take their shoes off, take their glasses off and put on make-up. Some of them have been [performers] before, since we do it every other year, but a lot of them haven’t ever seen it, let alone perform in it.”
    Page 2 of 2 - The pageant was well attended, despite the weekend’s plummeting temperature.
    “I would estimate a little over 1,000 people came between Saturday’s evening show, Sunday’s matinee and Sunday’s evening show,” said Herb Frazier. “I’m amazed at this year’s performance, it came off really well considering that we only had two dress rehearsals. It’s amazing, by the time we did the first performance, it turned out pretty well.”
    “This was our first year seeing the pageant,” said Kiowa County resident Ron Hess, who attended the Sunday matinee with his family. “I really enjoyed the live animals and the camels. It was great, it was very honoring to god.”
    editor@kiowacountysignal.com
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