“A-STAR” 2013

ASTRA would like to recognize and honor Dale Goebel as an A-STAR Award recipient.

There is something very special about someone so filled with joy that it bubbles over and makes people smile.  At the mere mention of the word “ASTRA,” this man chuckles and eagerly tells others all about the fun and camaraderie within this ministry.  Dale Goebel is ASTRA’s most enthusiastic participant and fan.  His involvement with the organization began way, way back…during the 2005 production of The Wizard of Oz…and his fervor has continued through every production since.

Dale began his ASTRA career hidden in the kitchen where he served as Kim Miller’s right hand man.  His dependable service and happy attitude brightened every corner of the galley and filled everyone he greeted with a deep sense of appreciation.

Ah, but the lure of the bright lights coaxed him away from his exemplary kitchen career and soon he was found perched atop a scaffold operating a spotlight. With a steady hand on his spotlight, Dale illuminates the actors at every performance. If you look up during any production, you will see him grinning from ear to ear.  Of course, prior to opening night, Dale can be seen everywhere, helping out with construction, painting, and technical setup.  You can bet he’ll be one of the first to help whenever there are things to move, load up, carry in, and haul off.

Dale stepped up to run the lighting team during The Songs of Godspell as Lighting Director.  He also has helped with security during the many rehearsals. He was one of the volunteers who would oversee our young cast members as Sergeant-at-Arms during rehearsals for Oliver, Fiddler, and Joseph.

There is much more to ASTRA than the few weeks of shows in July.  Whenever extra hands are needed, Dale arrives to help out and cheer us on.  We commend Dale for his dedicated and humble service by recognizing him as truly “A Star” of ASTRA.



ASTRA would like to recognize and honor Tricia Soriano as an A-STAR Award recipient.

Tricia Soriano is a wonderful and creative volunteer for ASTRA.  Her involvement began by playing the clarinet in the pit orchestra for our production of Cinderella in 2007.  As part of the parish staff from 2008-2011, Tricia was very committed and helpful shepherding the producers and assistant producers through facility scheduling, always going the extra mile beyond her job to help things run as “smooth as glass.”  Even when she was in the cast for Oliver (2009) and Fiddler on the Roof (2010), she continued to provide behind-the-scenes support to the production team.

Tricia added Prop Master to her volunteer work with ASTRA for the 2011 production Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, organizing an excellent team of volunteers. They became great scavengers, scouring thrift stores and attics for unique pieces. What Tricia’s team could not find, they made. Handling a newborn and a toddler, Tricia efficiently coordinated work nights during the rehearsals to complete the props in a timely manner.

Tricia continued as Props Master for 42nd Street and her loyal volunteers were happy to have her in charge again. Her team achieved a real coup by finding a beautiful 1930’s vintage wheelchair to borrow for the show, which Tricia had to haul to and from Seattle. Last year she used her journalistic talent to write an interesting article about her prop team for the ASTRA program.

For several years, Tricia has also worked behind-the-scenes researching and writing manuscripts for the parish “Martyr’s Mansion” program that ASTRA supports.  In 2012 Tricia stepped forward to direct and produce the collaborative “Martyr’s Mansion” program. Her bright smile is a gift to all who volunteer in her presence.

ASTRA is very fortunate to have such a faithful volunteer in Tricia Soriano, who gives generously of her time and always provides service with a smile. It is with gratitude that we present Tricia with a 2013 “A STAR” award.


ASTRA’s 10th Anniversary Recognition Awards

Fr. Richard McCallister

As ASTRA celebrates its tenth anniversary, it is only fitting that we should recognize one whose constant support has not only made ASTRA possible, but enabled it to flourish into its present state of excellence.

Those who know Fr. Richard “Woody” McCallister would tell you about his love for the performing arts. Although he has a wonderful singing voice, his passion is unleashed while tickling the ivories! A master at piano, he plays with finesse and style. Eight years of piano lessons as a child helped to unlock an innate talent that he has joyfully shared with us on many occasions. Although an accomplished sight reader, he seems to lose himself in improvisation, whether he is appropriating the piano at the end of Mass or playing with the jazz quartets at parish functions. Woody also graced the stage throughout his high school career. A student at an all-boys Catholic high school, he participated in only one all-male play (Stalag 17) because most of the plays he acted in were co-ed, as they cooperated with the nearby all-girls school.

With such a background, it’s no wonder that Woody would welcome this incredible ministry as a platform for future stars to be nurtured in their dreams! In October of 2003, when Mario Penalver approached Woody about doing a Christmas play, Woody’s answer was, “Yes.” The following summer when Mario proposed The Sound of Music, Woody again extended enthusiastic support. And that was just the beginning.

Who, in these uncertain times, would dare risk using part of the parish budget to create a performing arts ministry hoping to develop talents and show hospitality? Who would embark on a fund drive because a group of thespians needed air-conditioning in the gym for their summer audiences? Who would mitigate tensions over limited facilities, sponsors, and funds, by gently reminding us of our call to Christian stewardship? Who would help people of diverse backgrounds see theatre not only as a service ministry, but as a welcoming ministry to our wider community? The same man who would introduce himself to a diverse group of parishioners and non-parishioners with the unassuming, “Hi, I’m Woody. I work here.”

ASTRA has become an energetic part of All Saints Parish. It is a ministry that “builds Christian Community and shares the fruits of its labors with the wider community.” As Woody has often stated, it is an “opportunity to open our doors to the wider community in hospitality.” Imagine that – a church group that does professional-quality musical theatre, because its mission is to promote friendships and nurture talent both on and off stage. This would not have been possible without Woody’s pastoral care and leadership.

Over the years, Woody has been a constant ASTRA “groupie,” mingling with cast and crew, sharing meals, accompanying on the piano for auditions and rehearsals, and leading us in prayer – especially before each performance. When his schedule and the peace of the community permitted, he has taken many supporting roles onstage – a fireman (The Best Christmas Pageant Ever), Fezziwig (The Five Ghosts of Ebenezer Scrooge), Oz’s Gate Guard (The Wizard of Oz), Mr. Bumble (Oliver!), Rabbi (Fiddler On The Roof), Keyboard Player (Joseph), and Abner Dillon (42nd Street). The exuberance with which he supports this ministry is grist for this special recognition of honor. His exuberance has happily infected our Parish Community and inspired ASTRA’s creativity.

Woody has led us in the practice of Hope, confidently expecting that each new endeavor will reap rich rewards in the growth of Christian Community. Woody has sharpened our vision and enabled us to see ourselves as ministers to each other, stewards of resources, and a ministry to the wider community. Woody has worked tirelessly behind the scenes, sowing seeds of tolerance and trust, and helping this new endeavor find its place in the parish community.

Without Woody’s pastoral care and enthusiastic support, ASTRA would certainly not be what it is today. As ASTRA’s number one fan and a true Patron of the Arts, Fr. Woody McCallister is receiving ASTRA’s special 10th Anniversary Recognition of Honor.

Mario Penalver

It all began with an idea by a young parishioner.

Back in 2003, Mario Penalver presented an idea to our parish; an idea to start a new ministry to bring individuals together and bond them in the spirit of artistic creation using the talents given to them by God; an idea to put on a church play.

The idea was simple in form, but difficult in execution.  Our parish had little in the way of theatrical resources, experienced theatre folks, and available funds.  But Mario made up for the shortfalls with optimism and enthusiasm as he pitched his idea.  And with the loving support of our Pastor, the idea took root and began to grow. 

Mario brought parishioners and community members together, some who had never met each other before, and began to form a team.  Equipment was borrowed.  The Knights of Columbus lent some money.  Mario directed and co-produced the first production.  And it worked.  Our parish had put on a church play.

It could have ended there.  But Mario immediately started planning another parish production, this time a musical with a live orchestra.  The production team was formed and went to work.  Mario directed and co-produced the show.  Six months later, our parish put on our first summer musical.

In the years since founding ASTRA, Mario has embarked on other journeys.  But he has returned multiple times to serve the ASTRA ministry in the areas of directing, producing, marketing, promoting, fund raising, ticket sales, acting, and as a member of the ASTRA Committee.

Our first season was a long time ago.  In the 9 years since its beginning, ASTRA has put on twelve productions with the involvement of hundreds of artists and volunteers.  We have performed for thousands of loving and appreciative audience members who enjoy traditional family entertainment.  ASTRA has accumulated theatrical expertise and equipment, participated in improvements to parish facilities, and generated thousands of dollars in new revenue for our parish.  Young aspiring artists have developed their talents working with older veterans.  And members of ASTRA have contributed their artistic talents to other parish ministries in their religious presentations.

An incredible ministry has blossomed from an idea of a determined young man.  Thank you, Mario, for your inspiration, your leadership, and for starting this wonderful adventure that we continue to enjoy.