Students sat in a circle in Memorial Hall, each holding a script with their lines highlighted and a pen in hand. Excitement buzzed around the room. The first rehearsal for the fall play was about to begin. Dr. Kelly Gebhardt pulled up her chair to join the circle of students, “Okay,” she said, “let’s get started!”
As an adjunct professor at Immaculata University, Gebhardt teaches voice, music education, and music therapy for Immaculata’s music department. In her three years teaching at Immaculata, the class most near and dear to her heart has been Music for Exceptional Learners. Gebhardt feels a special connection with this class due to her time spent teaching at Stratford Friends School in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania, a school dedicated to providing education to children with language-based learning differences. As the director of performance arts there, Gebhardt teaches band, music, and runs the school theatre productions.
Gebhardt was brought in to direct Immaculata’s fall play entitled The Entire Pilgrims’ Journey (in 40 minutes or less) just weeks before the first rehearsal. The show will be performed by members of Cue and Curtain, Immaculata’s drama program. Gebhardt is excited to be included in the history of the oldest student organization on campus. “They say what goes around comes around, and in this case Cue and Curtain is the best thing to come back around for me,” remarked Gebhardt, reflecting on her experience working in production during grad school at Stony Brook University where she earned her doctorate in music performance.
Stony Brook University is also where Gebhardt was introduced to her passion of singing opera. Voice students at Immaculata are lucky to learn from Gebhardt who has sung at Carnegie Hall and the San Diego Opera House. Although Gebhardt does not sing professionally at the current time in order to spend time with her family, she continues to keep her voice in shape by cantering at Mother of Divine Providence parish in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. “Family comes first,” Gebhardt explained, “raising my children is my once in a lifetime opportunity.” Gebhardt balances being a mother with directing and teaching all while finishing a K-12 music education certification at Immaculata.
After a long delay due to COVID restrictions, Cue and Curtain is finally back up and running, and Gebhardt has embraced the opportunity to direct. Geared towards a young audience, The Entire Pilgrims’ Journey (in 40 minutes or less), is a parody of the pilgrim’s journey to the New World. Gebhardt enjoys the creative process of planning, directing, and seeing a show come to life onstage. She has plans for a simple set, modern costumes, and plenty of laughs. Gebhardt will continue directing Cue and Curtain productions for the foreseeable future. “As long as I can keep the balance of home and life, I see no reason not to!” she says.
The show will be presented in Alumnae Hall Theater on Friday, November 11 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, November 13 at 2:00 p.m. Tickets are available at the door and are $10 for adults and children are $5.