Washburn gets its holiday on

The Washburn community is trying to cram in a little holiday spirit before the school adjourns for the season.

The Catholic Campus Center at Washburn is running their eighth year of the Giving Tree Project, which began Nov. 5 and will run through Dec. 3.

Trees are set up at the Catholic Campus Center, 17th and Jewell; Campus Ministry at Washburn, 1621 SW Boswell; Multicultural Affairs office, room 110, Morgan Hall; Living Learning Center lobby, 1801 SW Jewell; Washburn Student Government Association, lower level, Memorial Union; and  Zeta Tau Alpha sorority house, 1845 SW Jewell.

Participants visit one of the trees, select a tag and purchase the gift request. They then return the unwrapped gift with the angel tags attached to the tree location by noon Friday, Dec. 3.

After noon, student volunteers will collect the donated gifts and take them to the Topeka Rescue Mission, Let’s Help and Doorstep, where they will be distributed to children newborn through age 13 who are in need during the holiday season.

The Washburn University Opera Theatre has its own plans for holiday fun, with “Amahl and the Night Visitors,” a holiday classic.

The opera will open at 2:30 p.m on Thursday, Dec. 2 in White Concert Hall at Washburn.

The general plot of the play centers around Amahl, a young boy with a crippled leg who often tells stories and lies. His mother fears he will become a beggar. The Magi from the Nativity story stop at Amahl’s house on their way to visit the newly born Jesus. The drama unfolds from there to show misfortune, miracles and the spirit of the season.

Admission to the event will not be charged, however donations to cover royalty fees are encouraged.


The opera will also be performed three more times off of campus: Three additional performances are planned the same week: 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 3, at  Trinity Presbyterian Church; Saturday, 7 p.m. Dec. 4, at Countryside United Methodist Church and 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 5, at First Presbyterian Church.

 Piano accompaniment will be provided by Joshua Jones, Lindsborg, and Pat Gibson, staff accompanist, and oboe players Rachel Johnson, Coldwater, and Lindsey Brown Stewart, alumnae. Washburn University’s Dancing Blues will also take part.

Principle cast members will be:

Amahl – Emily Mosier, Kansas City, Kan.  (understudy – Amy Imparato, Topeka)

Mother – Jennifer Scrivner, Topeka (understudy – Rita Hrenchir, Hoyt)

Kaspar – Rick Huffman, Sabetha (understudy – Ian Girdler, Topeka)

Melchior – Aaron Springer, Berryton (understudy – David Hess, Topeka)

Balthazar – Philip Watson, Topeka

The Page – Brendan Boyle, Auburn (understudy – Matthew Flaming, Belle Plaine)

Chorus members, listed by hometowns are:

Belle Plaine: Matthew Flaming

Coldwater: Melanie Herd

Garden City: Luke Paasch

Hays: Kelsey Overbey

Horton: Kelsey Rice

Hoyt: Rita Hrenchir

Iola: Krista Ohmie

Silver Lake:  Rachel Cross

Topeka:  Jennifer Berroth, Tyler Bridges, Lauren Buser, Jessica Crowder, Ian Girdler, Chelsea Haney, David Hess,  Amy Imparato, Daniel Kooser, Josie Price, Adam Schafer, Matthew Smith.

Yates Center: Chase Oswald

Kimball, S.D. – Alexa Overweg

The Washburn Mulvane Art Museum will have fiber art, pottery, jewelry and fused glass available for purchase at Mulvane Merriment from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 4.      


A limited edition ornament, featuring artwork by Frank Peers from the Mulvane Art Museum’s permanent collection, decorated holiday treats and cinnamon rolls will also be available for sale throughout the day.

The music department is also getting into the holiday swing Sunday Dec. 5 when Santa will display his talent on the drum in the presentation of “Sleigh Ride” at a holiday percussion ensemble concert at 3 p.m. in White Concert Hall.  

In addition to Santa, the percussion ensemble will incorporate marimba, vibraphone, xylophone, orchestra bells, timpani, chimes, crotales and various drums and cymbals in the presentation of traditional and contemporary music.  The Washburn Singers will also perform, featuring soloist Taryn Doty, of Topeka.

This performance is also free and open to the public.

As students prepare for examinations and the holidays, these groups hope that they will also take interest in the local events.