World Premiere

World Premiere Singers & Musicians Biographies

Andra Peeler ~ Warden

Andra is originally from Indianola, Iowa and is spending 6 months here on MDI completing her internship so that she can officially receive her degree in music therapy and music education. She has always enjoyed being on stage, especially when there is a strong and important message (such as the struggle to end violence towards women around the world through the yearly Vagina Monologues). “I think it important to use art forms to work through the difficulties we encounter in our lives. Through these artistic expressions we have the opportunity to analyze or even redefine our opinions and maybe even the problems themselves. Everyone is allowed their own personal interpretation. That’s the beauty of art.”

Axis Fuksman-Kumpa ~ Mary

Axis Fuksman-Kumpa has been singing and acting for as long as she can remember, which in her case 10 years plus a few. She has worked with various local theater groups, including The Gilbert & Sullivan Society of Maine, Mount Desert Island High School Drama, The Meetinghouse Theater Lab, and The Harborside Shakespeare Company. She is so excited for this opportunity and would like to thank George and Francis for putting together a beautiful show.

Bonnie Snyder ~ Final Prison Guard and Chorus

Bonnie Snyder is going into her freshman year at MDIHS. She has been involved in Acadia Community Theater since she was five and has been a part of such productions as Annie Get Your Gun and Seussical the Musical. She loves singing and dancing and plays trombone, flute and violin. Bonnie is very excited to be involved in many of the high school’s upcoming drama productions!

Doug Van Gorder ~ Governor and Producer

Doug Van Gorder lives in West Tremont, has done shows both onstage and behind the scenes with Acadia Community Theater, The Grand Players, The Gilbert & Sullivan Society, New Surry Theatre and Kaspar Productions. “Again, it’s been fun to work with a great cast and crew. Thanks to all who have helped along the way, and to my family, for their patience.”

Francis Snyder ~ Music Director

A resident of MDI, Francis Snyder has been an active member of both the local musical and theatrical communities for quite some time. He has been involved in many musical and theatrical ensembles on MDI most recently as co-musical director for Acadia Community Theater’s 2014 spring production of Les Miserables. He is currently employed at the Acadia Repertory Theatre in Somesville for his fifth summer where he maintains the position of ‘Technical Apprentice’. He attends Boston University’s College of Fine Arts and is pursuing his Bachelors of Music degree in music theory and composition and will be conducting the fall 2014 production of You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown there.

George Swanson ~ Bobby Dellelo and Author

Folksinger George and his life partner, Lydia Thayer, are in George’s home in Manset on MDI when Dana Farber permits. George is grateful for the encouragement he has received from Lydia and others writing his first opera. Thank you all: Singers, Musicians, Donors, Production/Video/Lighting Crew, and a Vestment Maker! George is writing a second opera, Gilgo Beach, about a woman kidnapped from Maine into a brothel in Brooklyn, New York. See this link to read more about it.

Geoffrey Schuller ~ Crucifer and Chorus

“I’m a member of the outreach committee at St. Saviour’s. The opera is a part of the parish’s outreach to our world. I’m an acolyte at St. Saviour’s, sing in the choir, and work on the altar guild. I sing with the Summer Chorale. I love to sing and act. I’ve been active in many groups both in and out of church. I love to play croquet and take pictures. I like to play backgammon too. I have a passion for all people to live in peace and to be treated with respect. The people in prison need to do their time and be treated with respect also.”

Laurie Schreiber ~ Second Prisoner and Chorus

Laurie has acted in numerous plays with various acting companies in the area. One of her favorite roles was Grandma Tzeitel in Fiddler. She says she’s thrilled to part of the Natural Causes Killed Victor cast, because of the power of the score written by George, and because of the important message.

Linda Foster ~ Torch Bearer and Chorus

As a clinical social worker, Linda worked with convicted felons, men and women, in prison or in the community, before retiring to Bar Harbor in 2010. She currently works very part time as a substitute organist, while filling her time with “volunteer hours, hiking, biking and kayaking on this beautiful island.”

Russell Snyder ~ Chorus

Russell is a self-employed carpenter and musician here on MDI. He enjoys playing music for local theater productions when he has the chance.

Sarah Cleaves ~ Torch Bearer and Chorus

Sarah Cleaves retired after 25 years at Don’s / Graves / Hannaford’s. Loves to read novels, biographies, etc., and also adopts pets from animal shelters. “I ride my bike and practice yoga. It’s fun volunteering at the Jesup Library.”

Skip Fraley ~ Washtub

Sailor… known in circles of native America and known by some New England institutions of incarceration, and for single-handedly closing the Charles Street jail, has washtub, will travel, no tattoos

Paul Woodfin ~ Guitar

Paul Woodfin lives in Bar Harbor. When he’s not playing or writing music, he runs a local inn, Snell House, with his wife, Mary. He also sells real estate and gives back to his community delivering Meals on Wheels.

Peter Johnson ~ Reporter

Theater and Music have opened many new worlds for him, as he is now performing in his ninth production since getting involved seven years ago with community theater. None is more exciting and meaningful to him than this opera by George Swanson because it dramatizes what identifies us as human beings and how we care, treat and respect other humans. When not dashing to rehearsals Peter and his wife buy and sell quality used books at: www.bookshelfmaine.com

Ray Vonder Haar ~ Sub-Deacon and Chorus

Ray and his family moved to Bar Harbor from Houston, Texas 15 years ago, and he has enjoyed the great opportunities for participation in local choruses and theatrical groups. He portrayed King Pellinore in last year’s Acadia Community Theater production of Camelot, and he played the Bishop and several other minor roles in ACT’s 2014 production of Les Miserables. He and his wife Molly and children Rhiannon and Nathan also sing in local choral groups, including the Bagaduce Chorale and the Mount Desert Summer Chorale. Ray has two other children and six grandchildren who live in Texas. He enjoys reading history books and fantasy novels, and enjoys hiking, biking and snowshoeing in Acadia National Park.

Robert Rhiel ~ Piano

Robert has been involved in music from a very early age, having been encouraged by his father who is a drummer and sound engineer. Mostly involved with bands, original projects and working with church youth groups, this is his first involvement in a theatrical production. “This has been a fantastic experience for me. The genuine interaction and enthusiasm that spreads throughout the cast and musicians is sobering and beautiful, and has been like watching a minor miracle unfold.”