The 2021 holiday season was an ideal time for The Golden Husk, a nearby performing arts theater in Ord, to host the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) Opera in its production of “Amahl and the Night Visitors.”
The holiday classic was presented at the venue on Sunday, Dec. 12 at 5 p.m. It was the fourth and final show of UNL’s Opera. “Amahl and the Night Visitors,” tells the story of three mysterious kings who arrive at the home of a low-income mother and son. The heartwarming story is considered, by many, as an ideal way for families to start the holiday season. Prior to event, students, and faculty, of the Glenn Korff School of Music and the Hixon-Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts, presented the Opera at the Studio Theatre, located on the first floor of UNL’s Temple Building.
“Our first appearance at The Golden Husk was May of 2016, when we performed “The Marriage of Figaro,” said Trey Meyer, UNL Opera Stage Manager. “We returned several times since because it’s a fantastic venue with people like Dahn Hagge, at the heart of it.”
Hagge is one of 15 Valley Performing Arts Theater (VPAT) Board Members who operate The Golden Husk, a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization. Its paneled walls, filled with corn husks, are credited with the facility’s excellent acoustic qualities, and ensures the building continually houses high-quality live performances and film productions.
Before VPAT opened The Golden Husk, in 2015, the building, served the surrounding community as Ord’s Theater, cinema and event space since February of 1931. It was purchased by M. Biemond, owner of Ord’s Gem Theater, after a fire damaged the building, then known as the People’s Store, from its previous owners A. S. Koupal and Jos. P. Barta who constructed it in 1928.
Decades before Biemond took ownership of Ord’s theaters a group of citizens, not unlike VPAT Board Members, came together to start the Ord Opera House Association in April of 1885. According to the Ord Weekly Quiz, the opera house, located north of the Satterlee House, would bring culture to the city that was incorporated in June of 1881.
History Nebraska noted how opera houses provided entertainment and culture in Nebraska from 1880 to 1920. It stated that performances were completed by actors from September to May. During the height of opera fervor, Nebraska is credited with having nearly 500 facilities across the state, with only a handful remaining today. Surviving opera houses are being restored and former theaters, like the one once found in Ord, are refurbished to serve communities as multi-purpose auditoriums once again.
Since “Amahl and the Night Visitors” was the last performance of The Golden Husk’s 2021 season, patrons of the arts must wait until Jan. 22, 2022 for their next opportunity to visit the venue. That Saturday, from 2 to 4 p.m., attendees can listen to children’s author Paula Warner discuss her book “Introducing Sandy Crane,” view a short film about Sandhill Cranes, along with participating in breakout sessions featuring: origami cranes, sun catchers, watercolor painting, and crane yoga.