By Rebecca Pasqueda, Correspondent
On Wednesday, April 12, the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor students performed the 78th Annual Easter Pageant show portraying the life story of Jesus Christ at Luther Memorial on the UMHB campus. Three different showings were offered for the campus and surrounding communities to attend at 12:30, 3 and 5:30 p.m.
The Pageant is completely directed by and performed by students as well as the children of faculty and staff at UMHB with some guidance from Campus Activities Board directors. At the end of each Spring semester, students are specifically chosen to portray the Jesus and Mary roles in order to have a year’s worth of preparation for their parts. This year’s roles were fulfilled by Jacob Asmussen as Jesus and Sophie Rivera as Mary. Asmussen is a senior Performance Music major and Rivera, is a senior Cellular Biology major.
“I’ve laughed, I’ve cried, I’m excited and I’m sad,” said Rivera about portraying Mary during this year’s Pageant just before going on for the first showing, “Being on this side of the story has been such a humbling experience and learning about who she really was and what she experienced during this time of her life has been so amazing.”
Apart from major roles such as Jesus and Mary, a handful of minor roles as Roman Guards, Temple Court, Pharisees and crowd persons were fulfilled by various UMHB students. Brook Shuck was amongst those portraying a minor role as a Pharisee. “It’s been cool but also hard to be a Pharisee conspiring against Jesus during this play. I’ve had a hard time not just because of that, but because I’m a female fulfilling what’s supposed to be a male’s role,” said Shuck. She is the first of two females in quite a while at UMHB to portray a male role in the Pageant. “I was nervous when Maddie asked me to become a Pharisee because I feared that people would judge me. However, I’ve gotten nice responses from many girls saying that they’re jealous I get to have a glued-on beard.”
The UMHB Easter Pageant portrays the life story of Jesus Christ first highlighting his multiple miracle scenes of healing a man with leprosy, a bleeding woman, a blind man, turning water into wine during a wedding scene and bringing a dead girl back to life. From there, the play focuses on Jesus’ entrance into the Holy Temple, his time with his 12 disciples, the Last Supper, Judas’ betrayal scene and straight into his crucifixion, death and resurrection.
In performing this popular campus tradition, Rivera’s hope, as well as UMHB’s, was that people would see how at the same time that he was God, Jesus was also a man. “During the miracle scenes, he kept his head down and didn’t say a word to him being the Messiah or not. Also, he crawled himself onto the cross. No one helped him, no one dragged him. He did it himself for us and I hope people see that,” said Rivera.
Director Maddie Rarick has worked the past year for to make this Pageant a success in portraying what is called “most beautiful story” in all existence.
“It has been such an honor to serve as your director for this year’s Pageant. Each of you has done a beautiful job portraying your own story through this play and I could not be happier with how it has turned out today,” said Rarick to the students and children participating in the Pageant just before the 5:30 p.m. showing. She is a senior Christian Studies major graduating in May.
The Easter Pageant is held every Spring semester on the Wednesday leading up to Easter Weekend. Students, faculty and staff spend from six weeks to one year preparing for the show for the campus, alumni and the surrounding communities. The event is open to and free for everyone who wishes to come.
For more information on UMHB’s Easter Pageant tradition, please visit www.umhb.edu.