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Ely to Arendelle

Mayoral proclamation made in advance of HS musical Frozen

by Tom Coombe

For three days in January, Ely will in many ways bear resemblance to the fictional kingdom of Arendelle.

Even the city council has taken note of the upcoming high school musical production Frozen, with mayor Heidi Omerza proclaiming Tuesday that from Jan. 19-21 the city “will be known as Arendelle as we complete our year of Frozen.”

The dates on Omerza’s proclamation, presented at the regular city council meeting coincide with the upcoming high school production.

Frozen takes place in Ely later this month amid considerable fanfare, and comes after a year of preparation and only after Ely was chosen as the lone school in Minnesota to present the Disney classic this year.

Four performances are set for Washington Auditorium, with the first slated for 7 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 19.

Two more shows are scheduled Jan. 20 (2 p.m., 7 p.m.) with a Sunday matinee closing things out on Jan. 21 at 3 p.m.

Omerza noted that “Ely has been chosen to represent our state as part of a larger idea - that theater is a place where opportunities are made possible,” and pointed that groups ranging from Disney Theatrical to Music Theatre International have indicated that “Ely possesses the necessary qualities of community, inclusivity and collaboration” and that Ely “has been acknowledged for its ability to suitably embody these themes with a potential to have a profound impact on our school and community.”

A kindergarten teacher at Washington Elementary, Omerza also described the energy and buzz the upcoming musical has created on the school campus.

“If you have been within the boundaries of the school or the school auditorium you will know there is a musical coming up very soon and if you’re in the world of productions it’s a frenzy level,” said Omerza. “My classroom is right next door and frenzy is the understatement of the century.”

About 40 students are taking part in the production, which is directed by Ely school choir instructor Mike Rouse.

The students include those from Ely as well as neighboring Northeast Range as well as home-schooled students.

Ely High School won a nationwide competition to put on the musical as Disney selected one school from each state to put on the show.

Auditions took place in the fall and cast members have been working for months to prepare and get ready for the show.

Tickets are available online at www.frozeninely.org. Cost is $6 each.

The countdown to show time is winding down and Ely is in many ways about to transform into Arendelle for a magical weekend.

Omerza made note of the unusually mild winter and lack of snow and asked also for weather conditions more appropriate for the season

“Hopefully the year of Frozen will actually end with snow, frozen lakes, frozen something,” she said.

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