March 21, 2023 at 4:50 p.m.

Road tripping across the USA

Road tripping across the USA
Road tripping across the USA

By Carol [email protected] | Comments: 0 | Leave a comment

‘The Teachers and the Preacher’ second-year St. Mary’s Auction 4 Education program a hit

It was hard to top last year’s inaugural “The Teachers and the Preacher” production during the St. Mary’s Auction 4 Education at the Melrose American Legion in Melrose.

This year’s show, March 4, did just that as St. Mary’s Catholic School staff took their captive audience on a road trip across the USA, with the final destination of Hawaii, which was fitting because the event theme was Luau for Learning-Hula for Moola.

Led by sixth grade teacher Sue Pundsack on guitar and harmonica, accompanied by the Rev. Marv Enneking on guitar, they embarked on their first mode of transportation – a bus. Audience participation was encouraged as they were asked what young children thought was the best song to sing on the bus. “The Wheels on the Bus Go Around and Around” was shouted out, while, when asked what the older children would sing, the words “99 bottles of beer on the wall. You take one down and pass it around, 98 bottles of beer on the wall,” were sung, which had people laughing after Pundsack added “root beer.”

Custodians Matt Grossinger and Duane Rothstein and teacher Zach Thell hit the stage depicting Willie Nelson and the Nelson brothers, reappearing also as Johnny Cash and the Cash boys and John Denver and the Denver boys, each performing fitting songs.

There was a unique state-related geography lesson with questions like, “What did Della-wear,” with the answer, “She wore a brand New Jersey,” and a few Ole and Lena jokes were thrown in for good conversation.

 “Holy cow or should I say ‘Holly cow,’” Pundsack asked as teacher Holly Hellermann walked on stage dressed as a Holstein cow before “Back in the Saddle Again” was sung.

Staff and guests also traveled by saddle horse and then hit the rails with “King of the Road.”

Even the St. Mary’s Village People – Jennifer Frank-Heinze, Kathy Wolff, Amanda Hellermann, Joan Kuefler and Holly Hellermann – made an appearance singing “YMCA.” A hair-flying Tina Turner, aka Principal Autumn Nelson, got the crowd going during “Proud Mary.”

The Sisters of St. Mary’s – Madelyn Klaphake, Dana Finken, Amy Kloth, Ruth Johnson and Bri Worms – made a repeat appearance, performing a traditional Hawaiian dance, complete with grass skirts over their habits, while “Tiny Bubbles” was sung, with bubbles floating through the air.   

While much of the hour-long program had people laughing, there was a touching moment when veterans were asked to stand and honored as everyone joined in singing “God Bless the USA.”

St. John’s University and the College of St. Benedict graduates lined the legion wall, linking arms and swaying back and forth, as “Piano Man,” was sung, becoming a traditional last song.

The road trip across the USA was complete.


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