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Musical tells story of Daniel, with humor and drama

The familiar story of Daniel in the lion's den comes to the stage this weekend.

The children of St. Philip's Lutheran Church, 1401 W. 15th St., will present the musical, "Rescue in the Night," at 8:30 a.m., 9:45 a.m. and 11:10 a.m. Sunday, April 11, in the church sanctuary. The services are open to the community.

The musical is the culmination of the children's choir year and involves 41 young people in grades two to seven this year. They choose their own level of participation, with some wanting to have lines, others wanting to be soloists. Still others just want to sing in the chorus. That is just fine with director Ellen Diischer. (She is assisted by Heidi Nelson.) There are no auditions.

What I always look for is the Bible text," she said. "There's the music, the characters with depth; the characters the kids can have some fun with, use their imagination."

Diischer, too uses her imagination for some of the characters - she says many of the kids come up with better ideas than she does.

It is not just the biblical production with music that captures the kids' enthusiasm. The movement or choreography adds so much to the production, and the cast and choir members work with a dance group during rehearsals. They work hard.

They look forward to this production and are learning the Bible," she said. "They learn that characters in the Bible were real people."

It is not just the young people who enthusiastically embrace each year's musical, Diischer said.

There are many, many parents involved and we couldn't do it without their support," she said. "It is the total support of the church - the staff in every area - and congregation.

This is the 15th musical production Diischer has directed.

Some of the more familiar songs are "Here I Am," "A Man of Mystery," and "The One True King."

In addition to working hard on the musical production at rehearsals, the young people are also part of the stage crew. They are responsible for costumes, props, setting up the stage area in the sanctuary, and then taking it back down again after rehearsals.

This is an important ministry," said Diischer. "It is another way to tell the gospel story."