Grace Free Presents “He’s Alive”

TR Staff
Staff Writer

By Ellie Boese
Grace Free Lutheran Church in Valley City will present the 8th Annual “He’s Alive,” a musical passion play, as part of Holy Week and Easter Weekend. The showtimes are Friday, April 19 and Saturday, April 20 at 7 p.m. All are welcome to experience this “live dramatization of the Passion of Christ,” free to the public, for one or both performances. Each production will also be signed to make sure the hearing impaired can also experience the play to the fullest.
Tim Berntson, the director of “He’s Alive,” works with nearly 100 local actors and singers who make up the cast. Most, he says, are members of Grace Free but others come from churches throughout the community. Children are also cast members alongside the adults.
The unique presentation of the Passion Narrative gives a close-up, tangible retelling of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus.
“Our intention,” Berntson says “is to walk our audience through some highlights of Jesus’ ministry, the events that led to Good Friday, and ultimately to the victory of Easter morning.”
Berntson actually wrote this original work, for which a majority of the script is taken directly from the Bible (adding dialogue for theatrical purposes). The work also draws upon music primarily from the southern gospel traditions. He continues to modify the piece each year, incorporating new music and pieces of narrative.
“We have added a brand new male quartet piece,” Berntson says, “which is our own arrangement of the gospel hymn ‘Nothing But The Blood’ recorded by my wife, SueAnn.”
“He’s Alive” will feature 7 vocalists, including Greg Hager and SueAnne as well as a ladies group, the He’s Alive Singers, and the men’s He’s Alive Quartet.
Berntson looks forward to presenting this to the community again, as he does each year. It means a great deal to him to share this story in such a unique way.
“As the director, I really enjoy working together with my cast and crew to present the Gospel of Jesus Christ each Easter,” Berntson says. “The joy of a risen Savior and an empty tomb is the greatest blessing in human history.”