Eleanor Kiel, director of music and liturgy, is in charge of a musical gift to the community: She’s the music director for the production of “Godspell” that will be performed three times at St. John Vianney Catholic Church, Bettendorf.
“It’s a personal dream of mine, since my first few years of working in the church, to do a parish production of ‘Godspell,’” said Kiel, director of music and liturgy at the church.
“Here at St. John Vianney we have talented musicians. And two priests who have gorgeous singing voices (the Rev. Jim Vrba and the Rev. Ross Epping).
“We made a proposal to our parish council last year. We knew we had certain highly talented parishioners who liked musical theater and performance. So we have 14 cast members, plus there are about 60 additional parishioners who are involved in either singing in adult chorus, children’s chorus, hand bell ringers, our pit band plus a couple of extra instrumentalists.” Additionally, there are quite a few people “working behind the scenes doing all the things necessary to put on a production.”
The interest level in the congregation “was overwhelmingly positive,” Kiel said. Auditions were held in September, and rehearsals began in October.
“Everyone who wanted to be part of the show is part of the show,” she said.
Although ticket prices were discussed, ultimately “The decision was this is a gift of the parish and to the wider community as well.” Tickets are free, but donations will be accepted for Churches United of the Quad-City Area, a cooperative association of more than 140 churches representing more than 20 Christian faith traditions in the greater Quad-City area.
So that no one ends up sitting in the back, 500 tickets will be available per show in the sanctuary that seats 800 (although, if the sanctuary fills up, those seats with a limited view will be available).
“People might think, ‘Why is a church doing a musical?’” Kiel said. “The show ‘Godspell’ has the opportunity to touch us on a deeply spiritual level. It’s the story of Jesus and his followers. It tells the story of his parables, which many people are familiar with. “
Kiel feels the show has a way of drawing people in to have a more close and modern experience with Jesus, “to think in a different way about how we all do continue being disciples of Jesus now.”