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One voice, many years: Cottage Grove man savors role of savior in church play

Women and children are cast in Light the Way Church's annual play "One Voice." Bulletin photo by Judy Spooner1 / 2
Cottage Grove resident Ralph Page said playing the role of Jesus Christ has deepened his faith. Bulletin photo by Judy Spooner2 / 2

Playing the role of the risen Jesus Christ, Ralph Page said he hopes this year's "One Voice" performance will convey a message to those who see the long-running annual play at Light the Way Church in Cottage Grove.

Earlier this year, Page said, he was told by his managers at work that he had to improve in his supervisory role. Through prayer and self-assessment, he came through his struggle and others can, too, he said in an interview Sunday as he rehearsed for "One Voice," which begins Friday night.

Page has portrayed Jesus in the play for 15 years, growing a beard and letting his hair grow longer for the part. He missed one year because of work.

The role has given him a deeper faith, he said. He remembers the first year he played the role.

"I prayed and fasted that people would see me as Jesus," Page said.

Though he has only nine lines in the play, the biggest part of the role is making sure the "presence of Jesus is felt by the audience."

As a widower raising children on his own, Page would like to do more acting but hasn't the time.

He has noticed that his faith, and his role in the play, has changed over the years, including surviving the death of his wife.

"The longer we live, the more we change and try to be like Christ," Page said. "It's easier to forgive."

Over the years, he no longer needs a script to study his lines but rehearses the song "I Am," the final number in the play, while riding by himself in his truck.

The song builds and the notes get higher toward the end of the phrasing. In the past, he hasn't always hit the final note the way he hears it in his head.

This year will be different, he said, and he'll hit that note.

At a recent rehearsal, as he wrapped up "I Am," reassuring his followers that he was, indeed risen, he hit the final note just as he planned.

If you go

"One Voice," an Easter musical, will be performed at 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 30, and at 3:30 p.m. Saturday, March 31 and Sunday, April 1, at Light the Way Church, 7000 Jamaica Ave., Cottage Grove. Tickets can be reserved on line at or by calling 651-459-4145.

Judy Spooner
Judy Spooner is the longest-serving staff writer at the South Washington County Bulletin. Spooner, who covers education and features in addition to writing a weekly column, has been with the newspaper for over 30 years.
(651) 459-7600