Students of Grace Christian School in Bennington rehearse scenes from ten Boom the musical on Friday evening before taking the stage. The musical will also
Students of Grace Christian School in Bennington rehearse scenes from ten Boom the musical on Friday evening before taking the stage. The musical will also be presented Saturday at 7 p.m. (Holly Pelczynski/Bennington Banner/photos.benningtonbanner.com)

BENNINGTON -- Grace Christian School picked up a play based on the life of Corrie ten Boom, a Dutch evangelist and Holocaust survivor, which was delivered by students Friday night. The second performance is set for tonight, Saturday, May 3, at 7 p.m., which the writers came up from Nashville, Tenn., to witness.

The musical tells the story of ten Boom and her family, who hid and transported more than 800 Jewish people during World War II. Once caught, the ten Booms were sent into concentration camps and survived to tell their story. This weekend's production is a shortened version of the recently finished play, and is the first time it is being performed.

Sisters Susan Beyer and Donna Griggs wrote the musical, which features original music by Beyer. The sisters said the story of ten Boom is misconstrued as a sad story, and it's ideal for students due to the lessons it teaches. They started writing the play together in 1997, which they said was a building experience for them as sisters. They compiled research and learned about the connection between ten Boom and her sister, Betsie ten Boom.

"You can push through"

"Corrie wanted to take on the Nazi army, and Betsie taught her patience," Griggs said. "It's a great story to teach kids history, but also that no matter how dark the time, you can push through."

Corrie ten Boom was confronted with one of her torturers from the Holocaust years later, and "looked to God" to help her forgive him. Beyer said the play is a story of human nature, and how hate only furthers pain.

"Look at what hate did to the Germans," Beyer said. "To see young people learning these lessons and getting excited over something like this is very rewarding to us."

After months of practice, the play's director, Laurie McCaskill, said the student cast is ready to put on a great performance. "We have done plays before, and they haven't necessarily been so unity-building there isn't one person in this building in terms of staff that has not offered to help, and has done so with such a willing heart."

Tickets for the musical are $5 at the door. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. in the Grace Christian School gymnasium. Visit www.tenBoomthemusical.com for more information.

Contact Tom Momberg at tmomberg@benningtonbanner.com. Follow him on Twitter @TomMomberg