‘Old Befana’ tells holiday story

Published 10:35 am Thursday, December 3, 2015

The Jay C. Hormel Nature Center is looking to help people get in the holiday spirit this weekend.

The nature center will host a trio of shows starting with a Ken Lonnquist, Tom Pease & Friends concert at 7 p.m. Friday followed by the same group performing the musical “Old Befana” at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday. All are in the Ruby Rupner Auditorium.

Pease.LonnquistNature center Director/Naturalist Larry Dolphin described “Old Befana” as a great, uplifting show to get people in the Christmas spirit.

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“I just smiled when I was done watching it the last time,” he said. “It was that good and it was that uplifting.”

“Old Befana” is based on an ancient holiday story, with roots pre-dating Christianity. The musical centers on Befana, with her message of hope and goodwill, is the beloved Santa figure in Italy and eastern Europe.

“The ‘Old Befana’ is just excellent. I just can’t say enough about it,” Dolphin said.

The play was performed at the nature center a few years ago, and Dolphin noted it’s a short play at about 50 minutes. Lonnquist has performed his musical retelling since 1987.

Lonnquist is a songwriter from Madison, Wisconsin, and he performed full-time more than 25 years. He has toured the U.S. and Canada at clubs, festivals and schools to perform songs about nature, love, and environmental and political issues.

Lonnquist has performed a few times at the nature center, and Pease performs about yearly at the nature center, as Dolphin noted he’s always a good draw when he performs.