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Night of Music staged today through Sunday

The 43rd annual Night Of Music presents "A Very Special Christmas" at 7 p.m. Friday through Sunday with a 3 p.m. matinee on Saturday at the Assembly of God in Willmar.

The musical is set in a cobbler's shop in 1900 and is based on a short story by Leo Tolstoy. The drama has been adopted by Keith and Cindy Kerstetter.

Papa Jesse, a kindly cobbler, is alone on Christmas Eve -- at least for a little while. While reading the Christmas story to himself, he speaks a wish that he could have seen Jesus on that first Christmas night so long ago.

Later he is visited by an angel who tells him that tomorrow his desire to see Jesus will be fulfilled. On Christmas Day Papa Jesse receives a number of delightful visitors and discovers that Jesus presents himself in ways we don't often expect.

Papa Jesse is played by Torry Norling and Becca Reeb is the Angel.

Other cast members are Dan Eggen, Andrew Benson, Denise Deaner, Elaine Johnson, Collin Wentzel, Sammy Grannes, Olivia Bergeland, Hope Bergeland, Thomas Kerstetter, Sydney Benson, Erica Horyza and Gibson Horyza.

Members of the choir are Wally Ammermann, Lori Aslesen, Mark Aslesen, Jay Baker, Andrew Benson, Heidi Bergeland, Tim Bergeland, Deb Bjornberg, Bruce Boomgarden, Kris Brouwer, Leon Carlson, Holly Clementich, Mike Clementich, Dave Deaner, Marla Eggen, Maria Florez, Peggy Garberich, Kathy Halldin, Gregg Hanson, Linda Hanson, Deb Hillenbrand, Jeremy Hillenbrand, Jim Hillenbrand, Rachel Hillenbrand, Ann Holter, Craig Holter,

Randy Huisinga, Ron Huisinga, Don Jelley, Steve Johnson, Alanah Karpen, Cindy Kerstetter, Pam Kleinhuizen, Paul Kleinhuizen, Susan Kuehl, Dean Larson, Jerry Ledeboer, Larry Leis,

Freddie Mattson, Vicky Mattson, Valerie McCray, Becca Moll, Bart Murphy, Angela Nelson, Kammy Nelson, Lisa Nelson, Steve Olson, Kris Poe, Rhonda Reich, Cindy Rosengren, Linda Seehusen, Danae Sischo, Joan Skalbeck, Sally Stull, Doug Sweeter, Lee Tebben, Gaylen Thompson, Marla Thompson, Laura Van Buren, Wendi Vreeman, Rene Wachtler and Christine Wentzel.

The play is directed by Nancy Murphy, with Cindy Kerstetter as the drama director and Ron Huisinga as the sound technician.

Lighting design was by Tracy Paulson and Butch Allen is the lighting technician.

Set design and construction was by Christopher McAninch with painting by Rene Wachtler.

The costume co-directors are Becca Moll and Marla Eggen.

Angie Benson is the stage manager and Julie Johnson is the power point artist.

A freewill offering is taken each evening. This year the proceeds will be given to the Emergency Needs Fund for Kandiyohi County. Families accessing the fund are experiencing a crisis threatening basic needs; have no other resource to meet those needs; aren't feeding a pattern of dependency; and genuinely require a "hand up." Almost all involve a cataclysmic instigating event (for example a loss of job, health issue, abandonment, utility shut-off, family break-up, housing loss, major repair) that has tipped the recipient into a state of crisis need.

The offerings have raised more than $82,000 in the past five years. The 2006 offerings of $24,353 went to military families. Previous offerings went to Youth for Christ, Hope Pregnancy Center, Teen Hope/Food Shelf and the Women's Shelter.

Ticket info

Admission tickets -- which are free -- are required to attend the Night of Music. Tickets are available at the church office between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. today and Friday. The church is located at 3821 Abbott Drive off South U.S. Highway 71 in Willmar.