Every spring since 2004, ’s theatrical youth ministry program, LIGHT Youth Players, has brought musical productions to life for sold-out crowds.
This year, more than 60 actors, singers, dancers and musicians from high schools in the San Ramon Valley will present “Aida,” a dramatic musical written by Elton John and Tim Rice.
Craig Heiting, show director and LIGHT Youth Players founder, said “Aida” is the church’s “best show yet.”
“It’s our most challenging show vocally, and the kids are doing well,” Heiting said. “They’re connected to what we’re doing.”
Auditions for “Aida,” which tells the story of a Nubian princess who is captured by an Egyptian captain, were held in December and welcomed all high school students in the area. The show’s 38 cast members, plus about 25 orchestra and crew members, comprise students from high schools in San Ramon, Dublin, Danville and Livermore.
Also helping lead the production are vocal director Keith Cosbey, orchestra director Teri Musiel of ’s music program, and Margherita Ryan, owner of the performing arts studio .
This is Ryan’s first year as choreographer for the LIGHT Youth Players, and Heiting said her direction has helped take the kids’ performances to new heights.
“She has brought an awareness of movement from an actor’s standpoint,” Heiting said. “The kids not only understand what they’re doing, they understand why they’re doing it.”
Heiting said he prefers to choose “musicals with a message” for his LIGHT Youth Players program. “Aida” does not send a religious message, but explores love, duty and sacrifice, Heiting said.
“I like to deliver something of value,” he said. “’Aida’ is about the evils of slavery, which is a great message for anybody, and sacrificing your very life for what is right.”
Performances will feature a state-of-the-art sound system and elevated seating, which will give audiences an intimate experience, Heiting said.
LIGHT Youth Ministry program director Bob Cummings added the church’s musical program has been met with overwhelming support.
“Our LIGHT musicals continually draw many people throughout the San Ramon community as well as our parish, providing audiences with quality entertainment, a wholesome message and a chance to experience the outstanding talents of our young people,” Cummings said.
“Aida” will be held at St. Joan of Arc Parish, located at 2601 San Ramon Valley Blvd., at 8 p.m. on March 18, 19, 25 and 26 and 3 p.m. on March 20 and 27.
Tickets cost $15 and are available online at www.sjasr.org.