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Rochester, Rochester Hills, Shelby Township

November 26, 2013

Local youth singing group joins Sister onstage

By Terry Oparka
C & G Staff Writer

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Members of the Violettas sing at the Brooksie Way Half Marathon in Rochester Hills Sept. 28.

The Violettes choral group, made up of middle and high school girls in Rochester, Rochester Hills and Shelby Township, have performed at a variety of venues in and around Rochester and Rochester Hills, but not onstage during live theater.

That will change Nov. 29, when the Violettes join “Sister” Mary Zentmyer onstage at the City Theatre in Detroit for the comedy, “Sister’s Christmas Catechism: Mystery of the Magi’s Gold.”

Recently, the Violettes have performed at the Kris Kringle Market in downtown Rochester and the tree-lighting for the city of Rochester Hills.

Jennifer Kincer of Kincer Catallo Private Voice Studio in Rochester Hills instructs the Violettes, and sings professionally in commercials and at other venues.

She is always on the lookout for places for the Violettes to perform.

“I love helping students become successful,” she said. “We’re honored to be part of the show.”

The Violettes will perform Christmas carols before the show starts and onstage during the show.

During the play, “Sister” tells the story of the Nativity using members of the audience to create a living Nativity.

Zentmyer, from Chicago, brings the Catholic nun, or sister, to life onstage. She was taught high school by the Sisters of St. Frances and has nuns and priests in her family.

Although she works from a 25-page script, Zentmyer said the show is different every night.

She’s appeared in the productions in Detroit in 2010 and 2011.

Zentmyer has also acted in “Late Night Catechism,” also written by Marypat Donovan and Vicki Quade, after she auditioned in ’96. 

“You never know what you have to work with from the audience,” she said. Acting the part of a strict teaching nun, she’s been known to take ringing cellphones from audience members and measure women’s skirts to see if they are too short. Men in their 70s and 80s who were taught by the nuns in their youth have tossed spitballs and paper airplanes at the stage during performances, Zentmyer said.  

“It’s so much fun,” she said. “After 17 years, it keeps it fresh for me. I was hired in ’96, and I’ve been doing it ever since.”

See “Sister’s Christmas Catechism: The Mystery of the Magi’s Gold” at the City Theatre Nov. 29 through Dec. 8.

Purchase tickets online at www.OlympiaEntertainment.com, the Fox Theatre and Joe Louis Arena box offices, Hockeytown Authentics in Troy (without service charge), at all Ticketmaster locations and Ticketmaster.com. To charge tickets by phone, call (800) 745-3000.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Terry Oparka at toparka@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1054.