By Drew Amstutz ’18
The Concordia drama department has a longstanding tradition of excellence. In productions like “Hello! My Baby” and “Fiddler on the Roof,” the cast, costumes and set are always among the best in the area. For nearly two decades the program has been directed by Chris Murphy from outside the high school, but now Concordia is bringing the director home.
Murphy, a 1981 Concordia graduate, joined the faculty this fall after 28 years of service in Lutheran grade school education. At the high school, he teaches freshman algebra and the new theater elective courses.
“I love working with high schoolers, and this will allow me the opportunity to work with them on a variety of levels and on a more regular basis,” he said. “I really enjoy the staff here and am looking forward to serving in ministry with all these great people.”
Concordia will now offer two theater electives — theater art and theater production. The theater arts class will allow students to read and to analyze plays on a deeper level while also developing the skills needed to write their own scripts.
The theater production class will grant students the responsibility of presenting a fully mounted theater production. Students will develop a design for the production which will include lights, sound, props and costumes.
The administration has been looking to add theater electives to the Cadet curriculum for some time, and the timing of the new block schedule couldn’t have been more perfect.
“Concordia has offered these programs in the past, and while they have been ‘off the books’ for a while, it has always been a desire to bring these kinds of electives back into the academic program of CLHS,” said Joshua Sommermeyer, assistant head of school. “I believe the block schedule has a great deal of advantages for the new theater electives — more time on a specific task, the ability to have longer, in-depth conversations, and the ability to do broader projects and labs are just a few.”
Murphy hopes that the new opportunity to engage with students during the school day will help grow the bonds created on stage.
“I am excited to get even more students involved and helping students develop more self confidence,” he said. “I am also excited about taking our program to a new level and looking forward to meeting even more students.”
Murphy is very proud of the program that he has helped to grow at Concordia and hopes that the department will continue to express Concordia’s excellence.
“I think our program is as strong, if not stronger, than many other high school programs,” he said. “We have a strong dedication on the part of both students and parents, as well as our audiences.”
Embracing Concordia’s mission of learning with Christ at the Center, Murphy teaches his students to place their relationship with Jesus before anything else. He believes that this is what makes the department so special.
“I always tell my casts that the thing that makes us unique is that we get to start each show with singing ‘Beautiful Savior’ and sharing a devotion,” he said. “Our faith is what sets us apart, and I feel it’s a part of what makes our shows so successful. Nothing we do is for our glory. It’s all done to give back what has been entrusted to us by Him.”