BELTON, Texas – On Wednesday, March 31, the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor hosted its 82nd annual Easter Pageant. The weather was beautiful throughout all three performances creating the perfect backdrop for the Easter story to be portrayed.
University President Randy O’Rear opened the year’s final performance by celebrating this year’s pageant directors, Miriam Osterlund and Sarah Weinmann, and the rest of the cast and crew.
“I am always so proud of the students who are involved in directing and performing in the Easter Pageant,” O’Rear said. “There are many students we don’t even see who help with costumes, programs, set production, make-up, logistics, prayer and outreach, and the children’s committee. The students are the ones who make this day so special.”
This year, the role of Jesus was played by Steve Villalobos, while Erin Franklin portrayed His mother, Mary. Selection of the two roles is based on their strong Christian faith and character.
The three pageant performances attracted a combined live audience of roughly 3,500 people. Live streams of the event were shared more than 200 times on Facebook and reached more than 10,000 people. While most of those online viewers were from Texas, there were viewers from and as far away as El Salvador, Costa Rica, and Taiwan.
“I love this presentation that brings Christ to the students. It is a great reminder of this Holy week,” one social media commenter posted. For those unable to view the Easter Pageant live, the performances are still available on the UMHB Facebook page and at umhb.edu/live.
More than 300 UMHB students participated in the planning and production of the pageant, which chronicles moments from the Gospel story, including Christ’s triumphal entrance into Jerusalem, the Last Supper, and Christ’s trial by Pontius Pilate, crucifixion, death, and resurrection. “I watch the Easter Pageant every year, and I am still deeply moved when I see the gospel story played out by our students” said Dr. Randy O’Rear. “I pray that others encountered the Risen Savior during the performances today.”
The tradition of the annual Easter Pageant at UMHB began in 1940 when it was held during the afternoon on Easter Day. At that time, Mary Hardin-Baylor was an all-female campus, so all of the roles were played by women. Over time, the production expanded to include male students and additional performances during the day. “Easter Pageant is one of our most beloved traditions among alumni, and the livestreams allow even more of our graduates to join us from around the world.” said Jeff Sutton, Director of Alumni Engagement.