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Solvang's Nativity Pageant - 27th Year

Posted: Thursday, December 12, 2013

By: Dave Retz (Expired article)

Solvang, CA -

Solvang celebrates the 27th year of its Nativity pageant, presented at its outdoor Solvang Festival Theater. The pageant is a play put on by local residents, narrated by local resident Ephrem Zimbalist, Jr., and presents the original Christmas story about the birth of the baby Jesus to a virgin in the small town of Bethlehem, not too far from Jerusalem, in the Middle East.

The idea of the pageant was one of Solvang's architects, Mr. Earl Petersen - who was also involved in the design and construction of the theater as an original stage for the Shakesperian play, Hamlet. Mr. Petersen's son, Adam, was present this evening as Efrem read from the traditional larger-than-life Bible telling the Christmas Story.

Efrem's narrative skill at portraying the evil of King Herod was a bit reminiscent of Vincent Price as he verbally portrayed the conversation between Herod and the Kings of the East. But on the brighter side, he portrayed the real story of Christmas, ending with the song "Mary did you Know" performed by local singer Lynni Gilfry.

Also impressive were performances of the youth and (believe it or not) the animals that were onstage (miniature donkeys, sheep, and ... yes, goats.). [Past performances have even included miniature horses.] In line with Solvang's "Julefest Celebration" this is the only event that focuses on the Christian element of the Christmas tradition: the birth of Jesus, who is the cornerstone of the Christian faith.

Some photos below: captions will be added in the near future (check back!). Contributions and comments welcome!
(Apology for photo quality: taken at low light level without flash.)

Efrem takes the stageReading from an over-stuffed chair.

Elizabeth Swanson accompanies on the harpThe Magi sing "We Three Kings"

Michael Roberts and Harlan Munneke are two of the Magi John Crowell, in the quintessential Back-Stage role. No lime-light here.

Mary and InfantAlan Satchwell

Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., Narrator, with Tammy Jo Dotson Jeanette Swanson, Director, and husband Bill

Adam Petersen

Photos Submitted by Marcia Nelson

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