‘Like to perform’
Heritage Pointe residents, staff holds Follies holiday show
MARSHALL — Many of the members of Heritage Pointe’s Follies entertainment act enjoyed classic 20th century variety shows, and in the 21st century they performed similar shows of their own.
The Follies capped off their 2018 Christmas show Tuesday evening at Heritage Pointe. At their dress rehearsal Monday afternoon, participants shared details about how they decided on a theme, music selections, and comedy characters.
The entire program, which lasts almost a half hour, was compiled and written by Dee Rysdahl. She said Tuesday’s show was the group’s third annual Christmas show. They have also performed shows for other occasions, including the 50th anniversary of Southwest Minnesota State University, which they performed at the Adult Community Center in downtown Marshall.
“We all like to perform,” Rysdahl said. “For every program, we try to include as many residents as possible. We’ve also recruited staff and guests.”
The 2018 Christmas show was dedicated in memory of Ed Van Nevel, who had planned to perform at age 100 before passing away in November.
“I hope Ed got to say his line in heaven,” Rysdahl said. “He was a great neighbor who is definitely missed.”
An annual Christmas tradition for the Follies is to include a live nativity scene with portrayals of Mary, Joseph and Baby Jesus. Portrayers have been a Heritage Pointe staff member, spouse, and an infant son or daughter young enough to remind everyone of the newborn Jesus in the manger.
The 2018 show began with a rendition of Jingle Bells by the Follies rhythm band called The Hayseeds. Spike Dolan, who plays the button accordion, serves as the Hayseeds band leader. Other band members play percussion instruments such as drums, maracas and washboards.
The next song, with the line “all I want for Christmas is my two front teeth” was sung by a quartet. All of them sported a pair of oversized false front teeth at transition moments in the lyrics.
The next song, which is from the Boone and Erickson radio show based in the Twin Cities, is a takeoff on the song and reading versions of “Over the River and Through the Woods” depicting a trip to grandmother’s house. Instead of the traditional horses, sleigh, and white and drifted snow; the modern-day Boone and Erickson version features a trip to grandmother’s senior citizen highrise apartment. Two of the details mention driving past an overpass and later enjoying a delicious catered dinner.
“It seemed like a perfect way to recall the old holiday traditions and to think about how so much has changed since then,” Rysdahl said. “It makes listeners think back to the old-time music. Between that and modern phrases, it blends the old with the new.”
The program schedule then featured the song “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer,” a Mrs. Santa in costume, the Christmas carol “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” and the Reading from the Gospel according to Luke about the shepherds who came to the manger.
After leading off the program, the Hayseeds closed it out with a two song medley. The religious carol of “Silent Night,” which traces its roots to a small European church from the past that had a broken bell, was followed by the more family-centered carol called “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.”
Heritage Pointe Marketing Manager Sara Dolan said The Follies have provided audiences with a group of well-planned and well-performed shows. At the same time, they’ve taken part in the process of seeing a performance go from a first rehearsal to the final song on performance night.
“Everyone looks forward to a Follies performance,” Dolan said. “They have an enthusiasm that entertains the audience.”
Heritage Pointe Activity Director Karen Alfson served as the master of ceremonies for the Follies.