by Leanne Loy
Sitarah and Kristopher Gjerme of St. Joseph are starring in GREAT Theater’s musical production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Cinderella.” The musical will be presented at the new Ledge Amphitheater in Waite Park. Kristopher plays a knight and a lord, and Sitarah plays Maria, the fairy godmother.
To meet Sitarah and Kristopher is to meet true humanitarians. Their story is inspirational and one all can learn from.
“Neither of us have ever been in a play before,” said Kristopher, “and now [Sitarah] is one of the main characters.”
When asked what sparked their interest to audition, Kristopher said, “I personally have always had an interest but have never done anything. It was Sitarah who actually got us to do this. She saw the ad and thought it would be something cool to do together, as a family.”
Sitarah added to that sentiment, saying, “This past year I felt like I lost my voice and through this I literally was able to find it again.”
Not many good things have come from the COVID-19 pandemic, but between the isolation and just needing to be part of a community again the Gjermes decided to pursue the opportunity.
“It’s been a crazy year and we have had to stick together throughout this,” Sitarah said. It’s just been awesome doing something as a family. It is so unifying.”
Kristopher has been a St. Joseph resident for the past four years while Sitarah moved in with him two years ago when they were married. Before then, Sitarah moved around quite a bit. Her parents are missionaries, so she has been blessed to be able to live in several cities. So far, of all those cities, she said St. Joseph is her favorite.
“St. Joseph highlights a lot of their local businesses and [it] has just grown,” Sitarah said.
The Gjermes said they love being a part of their community and listening to others’ stories, but the past year was rough not being able to be with that community because of the lock down.
As a stay-at-home mom, the effects of being quarantined can make a person feel even more alone.
“We both went through hard mental-health struggles, but I think the biggest thing that gave us an anchor was digging back into our faith,” Sitarah said. “It gave us the courage to do something like this and audition. I know not everyone shares the same faith, but that’s our story. That’s what got us here.”
Being able to rehearse in person with the cast has brought back that sense of community that was missing during the past year.
“That was one of the hopes that would come out of this,” Kristopher said.
They are both so aware of the struggles everyone has faced throughout the year because they felt it too, but their outlook on the situation is inspirational to many.
“Always be seeking,” Kristopher said. “That’s how you grow as a person.”
And it’s visible when watching these two tell their story that they not only speak this truth, but they live it. You can see Sitarah and Kristopher perform at the Ledge, the new Amphitheater in Waite Park, from July 22-24.