Calvary presents new Parker musical
Dec. 5--The Rev. Ken Parker had offers to work on musicals in Hollywood and on Broadway, but he turned them down to come to Minnesota. He served as a pastor for 25 years, creating musical pageants in his spare time.
Now retired as the minister of worship at Grace Church in Eden Prairie, he has time to focus on his avocation: writing and directing musical extravaganzas with a religious focus. His latest, the Christmas-themed "Born a Virgin," is playing this weekend and next at Calvary Church, 5300 France Av. S., Edina.
"It's a big show, an old-fashioned Broadway kind of show," he said. "Think Rodgers and Hammerstein or Lerner and Loewe."
He compares his music to that of the Ray Conniff Singers, Henry Mancini and Nelson Riddle before adding with a chuckle, "It's not the kind of stuff young people listen to today."
Parker, 66, started making spiritual musicals while serving a church in Detroit in the 1980s. Using singers from a professional opera company, he took the shows on the road, including stops in New York and Los Angeles, where he was offered jobs in show business.
He turned them down to come to the Twin Cities -- and there are no regrets. "All of a sudden I was in this wonderful arts city," he said. "I knew right away that I was in the right place."
Since retiring, he has launched Christian Arts Ministries, a nonprofit organization created "to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ by utilizing the power of high-quality drama, musical theater and choral music."
Shows are at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, next Friday and next Saturday, with an additional 2 p.m. show next Saturday. Tickets are $20; call 952-922-8850
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