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GODSPELL dazzled audiences in April 2017
This spring the FCS Players, Faith Christian School’s award winning theatre troupe presented the hit Broadway musical GODSPELL!
GODSPELL features magic, merriment and joyous songs and dances, including the international hit, “Day By Day!” “GODSPELL” and is a heartwarming, groundbreaking and unique reflection on the life of Jesus, with a message of kindness, forgiveness, joy and love.
The FCS Players Godspell Cast for 2017 included:
Anne DeMeritt, Lindsay DeMeritt, & Jeff Poppinga, Assoc. Directors Hailey Warta, Lydia Crist, Gillian Greathouse and Alec Reische, Asst. Directors
A Christmas Carol
The Gospel According to Ebenezer Scrooge, a New Original Music Adaptation by Paul DeMeritt, was presented Dec. 1-3, 2016
Special Dedication (as printed in the program)
Rev. John Sheppard II
“A Man of Vision, Passion, Mission and Love for People Young and Old , Ministry and the Arts!”
When I arrived on campus at Faith Christian School 24 years ago, there was a message waiting for me in the office that the Pastor of Yuba City First United Methodist Church –whose facility we would be sharing – wanted to see me as soon as possible. My first thought was “I’ve only been here a few days – I can’t be in trouble yet!” I dutifully made my way across the parking lot to the FUMC office, where the church secretary took me in to meet Pastor Sheppard. John – or Shep as I soon learned he liked to be called – stood up from behind his desk and said “Come with me, young man.” We walked down the hall and into the room in which you sit for this performance – the church Fellowship Hall – which, in those days looked much different than it does today! The Fellowship Hall had served as the main sanctuary for many years; there was a very small carpeted riser where the stage is today, with two steps of choir risers behind – covered now by the set steps and set’s back wall in front of you.
Shep said “Paul, I was a drama major and loved the theatre in college – but ministry was my first calling. I’ve always wanted to support young people in the arts in any way I can; so you can do ANYTHING you want to this room to make a great theatre program happen at Faith Christian School – except paint the walls black. I know that would make a great “black box” theater, but the trustees of the church would kill me!”
Needless to say, I took Shep at his words. In the years to come and as what would become known as the FCS Players grew, Shep and I talked often, shared dreams and vision, prayed together, laughed and even wept. One day in early Fall of 1998, Shep and I were chatting and he said “You know Paul, I’ve always loved the play ‘You Can’t Take it with You.’ Remember the great Frank Capra movie from 1938 with Jimmy Stewart, Jean Arthur and Lionel Barrymore as the grandpa in that film? You should do that play…and by the way, I’ve always wanted to play Grandpa Vanderhof!” Of course, that is exactly what happened; we presented YCTIWY that fall; my eldest daughter and tonight’s co-director Lindsay Roberts played the Jean Arthur role; Ryan Emerick, now a senior pastor himself in Oregon played the Jimmy Steward role with his future wife Holly in the play as well and Shep shone as the lovable, irascible and brilliant Granpa Vanderhof. It was…and he was…a hit!
24 years have come and gone. Hundreds of FCS Players have performed literally hundreds of performances for thousands in Yuba-Sutter and beyond; hundreds of FCS Players alums now have children of their own and have “trod the stages” of Broadway, Hollywood, their own schools, classrooms, theatre programs, businesses, the U.S. military, the U.N., abbeys, convents, church platforms all over the world. They have become teachers, pastors, attorneys, first responders, firefighters, police officers, nuns, entrepreneurs, successful business men and women, wonderful parents and most important of all wonderful men and women who love themselves, each other and their God and strive to spread his light, love and beauty throughout their world. Some of their children – and even a few grandchildren of adults who’ve participated over the years – are in tonight’s production. You will see the same light and life, the same passion and exuberant joy in Christ that Shep envisioned 24 years ago - and I believe that Shep, who passed away last Saturday, is here as well, laughing, singing along, encouraging and smiling, with that same twinkle in his eye that I will always remember with love.
Thanks, Shep; thanks to his wife Jan and to all the extended family and loved ones, for making this amazing journey possible. There’s an old story about a man who never knew a stranger, only friends he hadn’t met yet; and Jesus said “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” Shep was – and is – a man who gave deeply and fully of his entire life for friends – young and old – that he knew and loved and for those he hadn’t even met yet…friends like you. May we all follow his example.
Yours with love and blessings this Holy Season,
Paul and Anne DeMeritt and the Cast and Crew of A Christmas Carol, December 2016
A Christmas Carol Cast List
Fred Hollywell– Luke Poppinga
Miss Abigail – Brianna Brennan