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In Hernando County, Easter story is told through music, drama

Musical drama is a vehicle that several local churches and a Bible institute have chosen to convey the meaning of Easter to the community.

Currently showing is Word of Life Bible Institute's production of Behold the Man, a Broadway-style musical drama with a cast of more than 150 students and faculty members portraying the story of the life of Jesus Christ.

Michael Laymon, director of the program, said one of the reasons the show has been so successful for the past six years is that he teaches the performers the historical background of the scenes they depict.

"We take the time to teach each scene to them with cultural background, biblical context, character study and spiritual significance," Laymon said. "The characters they play on stage take on such realism because the students themselves go through such a great transformation just during our rehearsals."

Laymon said that as he prepares for the program each year, he learns new things that he incorporates into the program.

"Each year, I make small modifications to enhance the core message," he said. "The story of Jesus is a life-changing story that affects all who come in contact with it. Not only is it the power of the Gospel message that impacts eternity, but also the account of a life lived for the purpose of us as believers to emulate in every aspect."

One of the highlights of the presentation is a live portrayal of da Vinci's painting of the Last Supper.

Performances are at 2 and 7:30 p.m. today and 2:30 p.m. Sunday.

Tickets range from $6 to $28. Meals are available. Word of Life Bible Institute's Harry Bollback Performing Arts Center is at 13241 Word of Life Drive, Hudson. Call toll-free at 1-877-412-8687.


First United Methodist Church of Spring Hill, 9334 Spring Hill Drive, will present a Maundy Thursday tableau, Is It I, Lord? at 7 p.m. Thursday in the church sanctuary.

In the re-enactment of the Last Supper, the 12 disciples of Christ try to answer the play's title question in response to Jesus' having declared that one of them will betray him.

The program was written by the Rev. Richard Neal, the second pastor of the church. The tableau was first performed at the church in the mid 1970s.

Afterward, those attending will have the opportunity to take Communion using the elements that have been used on the table in the portrayal.

There is no admission charge.

Call (352) 683-2600.

• • •

Faith Evangelical Presbyterian Church, 200 Mount Fair Ave, Brooksville, will present "On a Hill Too Far Away." at 7 p.m. Thursday, The 40-minute program includes music, narration and a video presentation.

Their will also be a celebration of the Lord's Supper.

There is no admission charge.

Call (352) 796-4969.

• • •

Nativity Lutheran Church, 6363 Commercial Way, Weeki Wachee, will present a cantata, The Cross: Once and For All, at 7 p.m. Friday.

Donna Olson is the organist and director of the 40-member choir.

"This cantata is a reflection of Jesus' sacrifice for us," Olson said. "It is a journey through that first holy week that led Jesus to the cross."

Olson said that by observing Christ's final journey, viewers may learn how to make their own journey through life.

"The music is beautiful," Olson said. "My favorite piece is called Playing Games at the Foot of the Cross. It tells the story of the soldiers who gambled for Jesus' belongings while Jesus was in agony a few feet from them. It compares their callous treatment of Jesus' sacrifice to our own today. At times we all take for granted our salvation and treat it carelessly."

The final song is Enter Paradise.

"It is simply breathtaking in its hope for all of us," Olson said.

There is no admission charge.

Call (352) 597-1456.

• • •

Who Do You Say That I Am? is the name of the cantata being presented by Spring Hill United Church of Christ, 4244 Mariner Blvd., at 10 a.m. Easter Sunday. The cantata, by Lloyd Larson, will include readings by church members Lynne Carver, Craig Hauser, Carlan Helgeson, Dan Horn, Ed Lewis, Patty Villegas and Sherrie Raymond.

Inspirational songs include God With Us, Lord of the Wind and the Sea, Man of Sorrows and The Lord of Life.

Admission is free.

Call (352) 683-4870.

• • •

Brooksville Wesleyan Church's 45-member choir will present the cantata He Shall Arise at 6 p.m. Easter Sunday.

"Musically, it tells of the events that occurred in the last days of Jesus' life," said the Rev. Raymond Phaup, minister of music. "From Pilate's wavering as to what to do with this man, to the crucifixion and, of course, the resurrection. It is a great piece of music."

Soloists for the hourlong program include Colleen Pyle, Nate Whitaker and Dean Greeno.

Special songs include Hosanna from The Holy City, Surely He Hath Borne Our Griefs and Hallelujah from Mount of Olives.

"This is a musical that we have performed before, and it just seemed appropriate for us again this year," Phaup said.

Admission is free.

The church is at 8168 Jasmine Drive, Brooksville. Call (352) 799-3066.

In Hernando County, Easter story is told through music, drama 04/15/11 [Last modified: Friday, April 15, 2011 5:47pm]
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