They’re baa-ck. The sheep get some of the best lines in “The Tale of the Drowsy Shepherd,” this year’s musical production by the fifth and sixth graders of Holy Family School.
The students will present this funny musical version of the Nativity during the school Christmas program that starts at 7 p.m. Friday at the Prince of Peace Parish Center, 4100 Broadway Ave. The program is open to the public. Before the fifth and sixth graders take the stage, children in grades K-4 will present their own musical numbers. Stephanie Brunelli, the school music teacher, has chosen a combination of sacred and secular songs for the younger children.
The Christmas program starts with an all-student performance of “Alegria,” a traditional Puerto Rican Christmas song about Mary’s journey to Bethlehem. “Alegria” is a Spanish word for “joy.” Sacred-themed carols will include “Three Wise Men, Wise Men Three,” “Calypso Carol,” “Born to Us a King,” and “Where Were You, O Shepherd?” Just for fun, the children will also sing “Hot Chocolate,” “Frosty the Snowman,” “The 12 Dogs of Christmas,” “32 Feet and 8 Little Tails,” and “Light Up the Tree.” After the performance of the musical play by the fifth and sixth graders, all of the students will close the program by singing “Silent, Holy Night.”
“The Tale of the Drowsy Shepherd,” by Michael and Jill Gallina, features the kind of upbeat music and word play that audiences expect from Holy Family School’s annual Christmas program. It starts with a shepherdess named Sarah (played by Sophie Oss) who can’t help falling asleep whenever she starts counting sheep. The sheep quickly go “on the lam,” jeopardizing the jobs of Sarah and her supervisors (Alyssa Keller and Marcie Schartz). According to the synopsis from Bruneilli, “Sarah is on the brink of being fired by the owner of Shema’s Sheep Shop (Molly Kaiser), when she finds her way to Bethlehem to witness Christ’s birth. With encouragement from I.B. Eweing, the CEO of Wee R. Sheep Inc. (Katherine Snapp), Sarah feels inspired to follow her dream of a career change. Other characters include sheep, angels, Mary, Joseph, wise men and shepherds.
“The audience will hear musical allusions to the title (Brahms’ ‘Lullaby’ and ‘Baa, Baa, Black Sheep’) and enjoy energetic pieces such as ‘There’s No Business Like Sheep Business.’” Oss and Snapp are also featured as vocal soloists in the musical.
Brunelli directs and accompanies the Christmas program. Megan Murphy designed costumes and choreography, and assisted at rehearsals.
“The students are looking forward to sharing this musical gift with the community,” Brunelli said. “Holy Family School staff and students hope to see you at the program!”