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Centennial Quilters


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In honor of the CSB centennial celebration, the CSB/SJU Theater Department is presenting “Quilters,” a touching and realistic musical that honors pioneer women similar to those who founded CSB 100 years ago.

Based on journals and interviews from actual women, “Quilters” tells the story of an elderly woman nearing the end of her life, who uses her quilt squares to pass her life stories on to her daughters. Rich in history, the show covers several aspects of the lives of pioneer women, such as marriage, pregnancy and childbirth.

“The women created the quilts to tell their stories; each of their patterns represented different times in their lives,” cast member and CSB sophomore Aly Chromy said.

The show was selected four years ago specifically for the CSB centennial celebration. Kaarin Johnston, professor of theater at CSB/SJU and the musical’s director, stressed the importance of honoring and remembering generations before us. Dr. Carolyn Finley, Professor of Music, served as the music director.

“The show celebrates the spirit of the women who founded this place. We are a part of their history, and they are a part of ours,” Johnston said.

“Quilters” also stitches together the monastic and student communities on campus. The mother character in the production is played by CSB alumna Sr. Janine Mettling, OSB.

“It goes to show how involved the nuns are in student life,” stage manager and CSB senior Liz Meany said. “S. Janine is a great representative for the monastic community of St. Ben’s.”

In addition to the musical, Fine Arts Programming is also displaying a quilt exhibit that is currently available for viewing in Gorecki Gallery and Gallery Lounge in the BAC.

“Many of those quilts are made by students, staff and faculty members; there are even a couple that were made by nuns in the 1800s,” Johnston said. “The exhibit is perfect for viewing before the show or during intermission. It’s really a nice way to get a good look at history.”

The cast members fell honored to be a part of such a historic show.

“As a senior, I wanted to do something that will be part of history. I feel like I made my mark by working on this centennial show,” Meany said.

“I’m honored to have had the opportunity to look back at history in this light,” cast member and CSB sophomore Laura Ricci said. “I had the honor of working with an amazing group of women.”

After a successful first weekend, “Quilters” will be presented again on at 7:30 March 15 and 16 P.M. in Gorecki Family Theater in the BAC. Tickets are available at the Box Office.

The cast of the show is looking forward to the last few showings, as many audience members have been surprised and even moved to tears by the performance.

“It’s more relatable than you think,” Meany said.

Even though the CSB centennial may be a time to look ahead into the future, Johnston believes that “Quilters” reminds students of an essential part of this celebration.

“Part of the centennial is looking forward, but part of it is taking the past with you.”