What do Engelbert Humperdinck, students from St. Augustin’s Catholic School, our Residents and Gingerbread Men have in common? Why, Hänsel and Gretel of course.
It’s a delight to watch the 24 super talented students in Ms. Sofio’s fourth grade class – under the direction of Maria Andrasik – as they perform Engelbert Humperdinck’s fairy opera, Hansel and Gretel, for our Residents,. Though this children’s opera has a few additional characters and song, it is clearly the much treasured story from our youth. A poor family lives at the edge of the forest. Their children, in search of food get lost in the woods when… dun, dun, dun, they run into the evil witch who bakes children into gingerbread men.
In an enchanted twist, the role of Hänsel and Gretel is played by a different student each Act. “So cute!” murmurs Irene Regan as she watches the students dramatizing the Grimm Brothers’ tale. The lost children are in the forest and it’s late. It grows darker and darker. They see many strange things in the shadows, are very frightened and tired. They sit down and rub their eyes. “I’m sleepy,” says Gretel “let’s say our evening prayers.” As the lost children begin to pray, I hear the voices of many of our Residents praying too:
When at night I go to sleep,
Fourteen angels watch do keep,
Two my head are guarding,
Two my feet are guiding;
Two upon my right hand,
Two upon my left hand.
Two who warmly cover
Two who o’er me hover, Two to whom ’tis given
To guide my steps to heaven.
Finally, and true to course, everyone is rescued and safe with their mama and papa. I think perhaps it has something to do with our prayers and those 14 holy helpers keeping watch.
Speaking of helpers, these young people brought a dose of love to our home today through their volunteer performance. Proving that you are never too old for a fairy tale, nor too young to volunteer and make someone smile. I realize I’m smiling, I look around and our Residents are smiling too.