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Echoes of Broadway serve as fest finale

July 10, 2006|by JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, PA.

Capped off by enduring applause, WaynesboroFest 2006 wrapped up Sunday evening with "Biblical Echoes from Broadway" performed at Trinity United Church of Christ.

The show, designed by longtime Waynesboro Area Senior High School choral director Gerald Kowallis, featured a collection of Broadway tunes interwoven with Bible passages highlighting the scripture's influence in music.

The performance was the final event planned in conjunction with WaynesboroFest 2006, a triennial, 10-day celebration of the town's heritage. Several people in the packed hall had seen the show several times but returned to hear the voices of Kowallis and Anne Marie Zimmerman fill the space.

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"All the songs were chosen ... because they fit to make a whole," Kowallis said.

The connection between Judeo-Christian values and Broadway's music occurred to him during a performance of "Man of La Mancha," he said.

In the story, Don Quixote sees his love, Aldonza, as beautiful, not as a prostitute.

"Christ transformed people, and in the play, she becomes transformed because of how he sees her. ... That got the ball rolling," Kowallis said.

The musical's best-known song, "The Impossible Dream," was tied to verses from Matthew, Mark, Ephesians and 2 Peter in "Biblical Echoes from Broadway." Kowallis' rendition of "The Impossible Dream" was a show highlight for Kate Biesecker of Waynesboro.

"I think everyone needs a goal. That's what life is all about: dreaming," she said.

Kowallis was joined onstage by three generations of the Zimmerman family. Anne Marie, a graduate student at the University of Delaware, sang, while her grandmother played the piano, her father read selections from the Bible and her brother played a drum.

The show covered well-known scripture and parables, as well as shows including "The Sound of Music," "The King and I" and "Fiddler on the Roof."

"There's a lot of faith and love in Broadway," Anne Marie Zimmerman said.

"It ties right in with those songs," Mary Kay McCleary of Waynesboro said, returning to see the show she had enjoyed so much previously.

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