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Students take the stage in memory of music director

Published: Apr. 17, 2021 at 9:33 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Students at Thomas More Prep-Marian are ready to hit the stage, performing in memory of their music director, Jim Balthazor.

“He definitely would’ve had a big impact if he was here for a majority of rehearsals,” said student Madelyn Seiler.

Director Travis Rizzell says The Phantom of the Opera is a challenging show for high schoolers.

“It’s a big show, and it’s ambitious for a school our size,” said Rizzell.

Balthazor knew they could pull it off. He and Rizzell picked the show together last spring, and held auditions over the summer.

The plan was to have performances in the fall.

“The first day of school he came up to me and was like we need to get started,” said student Maggie Baalmaan.

But, COVID-19 stopped that from happening, so they postponed to April.

“Jim and I were just getting into our plan. Then, we lost him,” said Rizzell.

The show must go on, even without someone who played such a vital role in their rehearsals and their lives.

“He was actually the person that got me into theatre in 8th grade,” said student Ben Pfannenstiel.

That’s why they all want to put on a successful production in his memory.

“Having him pass away was very hard. We want to do this for him,” said Baalmaan.

‘He’s always there. We’re always aware that he should be here but he’s not, so we’re going to do the best we can for him,” said Rizzell.

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