Welcome to the St. John's Blog!

St. John's Episcopal Church is located on the northwest side of Chicago, in the Old Irving Park neighborhood. You can learn more about us at our official web site. We hope you'll join us!

If you'd like to see a larger version of any picture in the left-hand column, just click on it. Use your back arrow to return to the post.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Bishop's Visit

When the Bishop visits, we dust in all the corners, put on our best clothes, and get ready to celebrate!

We call in the best musicians...

And the crack team of acolytes!

We are reminded of our promises thorough baptism, confirmations, and receptions (into the Episcopal Church). We had all three!
Adrian got wet!

Adrienne, William and Nikki were confirmed. (The bishop's hands seal the deal.) Susan and Brian were received. They got lovely prayer books.

Suellen and Hugh were honored for their commitments (and got beautiful icons to show for it - of St. John as a fisherman and Dame Julian of Norwich with her cat.)

We won't forget the Bishop's story of his recent trip to Sudan. At one church he was greeted by the slaughter of a bull. He had to step over it to enter the church! (If he told us we could have arranged something!)

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Hey! Let's Put on a Show!
(Behind the Scenes at the 2010 Ephiphany Pageant)

There was a lot that took place beforehand: preparing, editing, and printing the script; cast calls; assignment of parts. But preparations for the 2010 Epiphany Pageant really started heating up at about noon on Sunday, January 3, after the 10:30 service. In the next five days the church had to be transformed to a theater, and 30-plus ... um ... independent young people had to be transformed into an acting troupe.

The Christmas banner Angela wrote of in the prior post was taken down and carefully rolled in a sheet, to be stored for next year.

This year there was something new: theatrical lights! Purchased with funds from the Jack Siebert Memorial Fund, we had expert assistance in selecting and installing the lights from Lifeline Theatre's Alan Donaghue.

Alan showed Tim, Mason, and Jess how the lights were set up and operated, mapping out where light would be needed during the Pageant and aiming them appropriately.

Meanwhile, all around them the thespians walked through their first full rehearsal. Gabriel spread her wings behind the seraphim and cherubim. In the background, Mary is sitting with the innkeeper's wife.

Pageant Director Angie coached Gabriel in the proper use of wings:

Yep, you read that right: STOP VOLDEMORT.

If you're a little confused about what you're doing, and stopping Voldemort is more than you signed on for, it's always comforting to check and see that Mom is still sitting in a pew in the back.

Hi Mom! I think I can do this. I think I can, I think I can, ....

Two actors, unsure of their motivation in a particular scene, looked for a new perspective:

The first full dress rehearsal was Tuesday night, and for hours Tuesday Elbert was at work in the undercroft, preparing the scenery back-drop for the stage.

At the same time, Katie was upstairs, laying out the cast's costumes in the nave:

Tim and Mason had the opportunity to run through the lighting script, and everything worked just fine. Dancing angels were bathed in a celestial glow.

When the rehearsal got a little harried, we had only to look at Angie's t-shirt (no photo, sadly) which instructed us to "Stay calm, and carry on".

Friday, January 8, was the first performance. Angie and Bryan put finishing touches on the music:

Angie and Gabriel (who had the most lines) ran through the Annunciation scene again.

But backstage was the place to be for the two hours before showtime. The classrooms were transformed into dressing rooms and rehearsal halls. In the J2A room, Aniko worked her magic, turning teenagers and pre-teens into wizened old men and women. And, due to a shortage of boys who wanted to be anything but soldiers, she even turned some young women into old men!

Note to future actors: If you get rude with the photographer, expect the whole world to know about it:

Meanwhile, the less complicated transformations were handled elsewhere:

Roman soldiers look plenty tough without make-up.

The Sacristy became the rehearsal room, where Adler and Mary had a final run-through of her song.

Time was running out. Just before 7:30, the whole cast assembled in a classroom for last minute instructions and a pep talk from Angie.

Finally, it was Show Time!