Bishop Kevin Vann of the Diocese of Orange is cast in Santa Margarita Catholic High School’s fall musical production, “Godspell.” Vann plays the role of a member of the homeless community and has been attending rehearsals on campus to prepare for the production. This is not Vann’s first performance in an SMCHS production. In the spring of 2017, Vann played a Russian Orthodox priest and a Jewish villager in “Fiddler on the Roof.” In 2016, Vann played a crap shooter in the Talon Theatre production of “Guys and Dolls” and performed in the musical number “Sit Down, You’re Rockin the Boat” with Nicely-Nicely and The Company.
“Godspell,” set at a homeless encampment, is being done in partnership with school’s campus ministry department to raise awareness and support for the homeless community. For every ticket purchased, $1.00 will be donated to the Illumination Foundation for first and last month’s rent for a family in need. Tickets may be purchased at www.seatyourself.biz/smhs.
In conjunction with the production, the cast and crew have undertaken a service project which included a hygiene drive to fill 650 backpacks to be donated to the Illumination Foundation at the end of the run. Junior and senior students also visited the Illumination Foundation’s Children’s Resource Center in Santa Ana to play theatre games with children and learn more about the important work of the foundation, which seeks to break the cycle of homelessness in Orange County and Southern California. The students also visited the Isaiah House of the Orange County Catholic Worker, which serves those facing homelessness, where they performed for residents and enjoyed the company of the women living there. “Godspell,” based on the Gospel of St. Matthew, provides a context to explore social justice issues through the parables and the story of the passion of Christ.
Music has been a part of Bishop’s Vann’s life since 1961, when his grandparents (Les and Mary Jones) encouraged him to take piano lessons under the Dominican Sisters of Springfield, Ill. and paid for them for one year. He studied piano for a total of nine years, participating in the “National Guild of Piano Teachers Association” auditions and then his own Silver Cross Recital. While in the band at Griffin High School in Springfield, he played baritone and also learned to play jazz. In the seminary, he studied pipe organ and played regularly for the seminary liturgies and parishes in the Diocese of Springfield. His love of music led him to audition for the “Greater Decatur Chorale” and in 1999 he auditioned for and got the role of Nicely-Nicely Johnson in “Guys and Dolls.”
Full story at OC Catholic.