A Denver Waldorf School Tradition

Recommended to Waldorf schools by Rudolf Steiner, The Shepherds’ Play, is one of a trilogy of plays from the middle ages and has been an annual event at The Denver Waldorf School for more than three decades. The story reflects and contrasts the simplicity of the shepherds, the practical and earthly interests of the innkeepers, and the divine birth event of the Christ Being, amid a fervent reverence for nature.

In today’s eclectic world, some may identify in this play an intimacy with the heavens at the winter solstice, or even a profound personal spiritual birth or renewal, as the returning light of the sun gives promise and hope for the future of humankind.

The Music of the Shepherd’s Play

The music for the Shepherd’s Play was written by Leopold van der Pals (1884-1966), a Danish/Dutch modernist composer who became acquainted with Rudolf Steiner and moved to the Dornach area in 1915. In this production, Lily Kellogg and others arranged the songs for two- and tree-part voice.

2021 Performance

Our Shepherd’s Play returned to the stage before a live audience in 2021. Participants included The Denver Waldorf High School’s 12th graders and faculty, with musical accompaniment by Mariko Murase.

2020 Performance

This year’s audio play participants include The Denver Waldorf High School’s 12th graders, two alumni, current and former teachers, and musical accompanists. As an acknowledgement of the times we live in, all singing and speaking tracks were recorded in small groups of four to five, wearing specially prepared masks for that purpose, and minimal rehearsals to follow safety guidelines.