It's Magic

How does a singular sensation come into being?  Sometimes, the most important ingredient in event production is magic.

Fire from Ice at the Fitzgerald began with the need of a small, quiet but hugely impactful nonprofit organization to raise funds for the work it does helping people who seek spirituality and healing through life’s transitions and challenges.  Loyola Spirituality Center has offered life-changing programs and services for the past 35 years that are based on the teachings of Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits.  His spiritual vision saw the world charged with God's inviting presence.  As a result, Ignatian spirituality is positive and practical, with a great desire to help people discover God at work in the world and in their individual and communal lives.  Today, this philosophy is best seen in the work of Pope Francis, the first Jesuit Pope.

Enter Event Architects, a Minneapolis-based event production company that creates experiences that move people to action.  Loyola contracted with the company to craft and produce a benefit event that would inspire and entertain like no other.  The task of was creating a once-in-a-lifetime experience was challenging, but at the same time thrilling.  Inspired by Loyola’s mission, Fred and Kristi Shepherd, principals at Event Architects, conceived of an idea of a variety show that featured an array of entertainers performing songs, dance, theatre and comedy.  Wanting to ensure that the show was highly entertaining and spiritually enriching, the Shepherds contacted Raymond Berg, a colleague with whom they collaborated when producing Firstar Capital New Year in downtown St. Paul from 1997 until 2001.

The Shepherd’s choice of Berg as Musical Director was spot on.  The 2013 Ivey Award Winner for Best Musical Director in Minnesota, Berg has a decades-long career in the Twin Cities, and is best known for his recent work at the Ordway with Miss Saigon and The Wizard of Oz, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show.  Berg himself was inspired by the mission of Loyola, and quickly designed a show that is as exciting as it is profound.  Together, Berg and the Shepherds recruited local television legend, Don Shelby, to host and emcee the show.  Shelby, too, was taken by the spiritual elements of the project, and joined the team to add his unique acting talent and love of music to the effort.

The magic of the project took off!  Berg recruited world class entertainers with Twin Cities roots, including Robert Robinson, Jevetta Steele, Bradley Greenwald and Jennifer Baldwin Peden.  They all enthusiastically signed on, fueled by Berg’s desire for them to see the event as an opportunity to express and foster their own spirituality.  The event will showcase original music by Berg as well as familiar songs performed in new ways, comedic dance, spoken word and drama.  The entertainment will be framed and accompanied by an all-star house band, comprised of the Twin Cities best musicians.  Each of the two acts will conclude with an all-star finale which will wow the audience with power and emotion.  It will all come together on one special night…a truly unique, one-of-a-kind experience.


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