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A new look at an annual play

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Star Kendall Bergstresser stares off to the side

Star Kendall Bergstresser stares off to the side as she awaits the arrival of her fellow star on Wednesday afternoon. Kendall joined the play to shine over the barn where Mary, Joseph, and the baby Jesus were staying.

The annual Christmas Pageant put on each year by St. John the Baptist Catholic Church was one of the events still able to continue this year despite COVID-19, although not without changes. Normally the event is held live for an audience. This year to follow safe COVID-19 protocols, the play was instead recorded for later watching at home. 

The Catholic Church held their annual Christmas Pageant

The Catholic Church held their annual Christmas Pageant on Wednesday afternoon. The play is normally held in person for an audience but this year is being recorded digitally for everyone to watch at home in honor of COVID-19 precautions.

Mary, played by Ellie Walters, sits in front of the angel

Mary, played by Ellie Walter, sits in front of the angel as the angel says “you are blessed among women” and informs her that she will mother the baby Jesus. Mary then joined Joseph in asking inn keepers for a place to stay.

The choir laughs together

The choir laughs together after the conclusion of the rehearsal of the pageant on Wednesday afternoon. The choir sung a number of songs during the performance to break up the different parts of the story.

Luken Smith and Ellie Walter sit by the manger

Joseph, played by Luken Smith, and Mary, played by Ellie Walter, sit together by the manger as the choir sings during the Christmas Pageant on Wednesday afternoon.

An angel greats the shepherds

An angel greets the shepherds as they enter the play. She was the only angel with a solo speaking part but rejoined the other angels to speak in unison.

Two angels try to decide who is taller

Two angels try to decide which of them is taller between the practice and official performance of the Christmas Pageant on Wednesday afternoon. The set was put together in the Catholic Church annex with walls and backgrounds put up to contain the whole scene.

Props like the camel, sheep, gifts and staffs were strewn

Props like the camel, sheep, gifts and staffs were strewn about on the side of the play set while all the cast and choir members stood front and center to sing the first song of the performance on Wednesday afternoon. Th different props appeared throughout the performance and were spread between the wise men and the shepherds.

The feet of the Christmas Pageant

The feet of the Catholic Church's 2020 Christmas Pageant

A pig and a horse sit up in front of the manger and barn

A pig and a horse sit up in front of the manger and barn as they watch the other actors in the play on Wednesday afternoon. The animals all sat together in the corner next to the manger.

The shepherds waited on the edge of the set

The shepherds waited on the edge of the set before entering into the play on Wednesday afternoon. The four shepherds held their own staffs and had their beards sewn onto their face masks so that they could keep them on for COVID-19 precautions.

Grace Geis sings with the choir

Grace Geis, one of the three in-keepers, sings along with the choir from her side of the play on Wednesday afternoon. The three in-keepers all denied Mary and Joseph, as the story goes, with the third finally offering up a barn.

Jackson Harriet, a wise man, waits

Jackson Harriet, a wise man, waits to walk into the scene with the other two wise men on Wednesday afternoon. The wise men were led by a second star and the four of them were the last characters added to the play.

Grady Mathson, a narrator, reads

Grady Mathson, a narrator, reads from the script to continue the Christmas Pageant on Wednesday afternoon. The narrators were allowed to remove their masks once they reached the podium but kept them on at all other times like almost everyone else in the play.

Lily LaVigne was the second star to enter

Lily LaVigne was the second star to enter the play - leading the wise men on their journey to Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus on Wednesday afternoon. The two stars peeped out of their face perch and used their arms to hold up the right and left star tips.

Sawyer Sullivan leans on his staff

Sawyer Sullivan, one of the shepherds, leans on his staff as he watches the choir sing another song on Wednesday afternoon. The shepherds split their time between the edge of the set and in front by the manger.

Photojournalist

Jessi Dodge joined the Bulletin as a photojournalist and a Report for America corp member in 2020. If you have ideas or comments, reach out at jessi@buffalobulletin.com.

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