"Come unto me and ye shall partake of the fruit of the tree of life..."
Alma 5:24

2008 Portland, Oregon/Provo, Utah Cast

Photography by Alex Maynes Photography

(Nephi) Dale Zabriskie has played leading roles in productions of Guys and Dolls, How To Succeed in Business, Oklahoma, 1776, and Fantastiks as well as major roles in Fiddler on the Roof, Brigadoon, My Fair Lady, Kiss Me Kate, King and I, and Music Man. His professional theatrical background includes work acting in summer stock companies, directing for regional theatre, and producing for Embryo Music’s vocal artists Kenneth Cope, Michael Webb, and Julie de Azevedo in their early careers. Though Dale’s profession now is in corporate training and executive briefings, his avocation is music. He served as Chair of the Music Committee of the Orlando Temple Open House and Dedication in 1994 and directed the touring "Central Florida Messiah Choir of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" between 1992 – 2004. He most recently served as Stake Music Chair and director of the Vancouver West Stake Choir; and was the conductor of the professional orchestra in the studio recording of With Mine Own Hand. Using his twenty-plus years in professional broadcasting and voice-over work, Dale also serves as “the voice” or narrator for the Portland Mormon Choir and Orchestra. The concept of With Mine Own Hand was born out of Dale’s idea thirty years ago to create a one-man show using Nephi’s own words (see "Meet the Creators".)

(Lehi) Ron Brallier has extensive experience in musical theatre and opera.  Portland Civic Theatre audiences enjoyed his “lovely ringing voice” (Hicks, Oregonian) when he sang the role of Anthony Hope in the 1984 NW premier of Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd. For PCT, he also appeared as Patrick in Mame, and as Michael (He) in the 1988 SRO production of I Do! I Do!  Ron has also appeared as Curley in Oklahoma!, Lancelot in Camelot, Ben Rumson in Paint Your Wagon, and has sung King Melchior in Amahl and the Night Visitors, as well as the title role in Britten’s Noyye’s Fludde. Ron made his Portland Opera debut in 1985 as Silvano in Verdi’s A Masked Ball.  He was an original member of the Portland Opera Players (POPs), Portland Opera Association’s touring and educational outreach performance group. With POPs, he created the role of Don Basilio in Figaro! Figaro! and Dreary Pig in The Three Little Pigs, an introduction to opera for elementary school children.  Since 1985, Ron has appeared in numerous POA main stage productions including Gianni Schicci, Roméo et Juliette, Andrea Chénier, Rigoletto, La Traviata, Carmen, Man of La Mancha, Don Carlo, Marriage of Figaro and as Louie in Bolcom’s A View from the Bridge andThe Mandarin in Turandot. Most recently he has appeared in Madame Butterfly, Street Scene and Tosca, all with Portland Opera. He has studied with Ellen Faull, Julliard professor emeritus. Ron is married to Kathryn, a member of the Spokane Symphony Orchestra, and music staff member at George Fox University. They have eight children. He is now completing a Masters degree in marriage and family counseling. Ron also teaches Gospel Doctrine in the Rock Creek Ward.

(Young Nephi) Grant Zabriskie has played roles in productions of West Side Story, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and How to Succeed in Business. He was a featured solo performer at BYU’s Young Ambassador’s Singer Entertainer Workshop for two years and served a summer-long mission to Nauvoo as a Young Performing Missionary right out of high school. He completed two years of college as a music/vocal performance major in Orlando, singing with a number of choirs and ensembles before embarking on his two-year mission to Japan, where he was serving as Assistant to the President when the Japan Tokyo mission was created. Grant has performed at Disney World as an accomplished vocal percussionist and a cappella enthusiast. He is pursuing a degree in Marriage, Family and Human Development at Brigham Young University with a career goal in pediatrics. He sang with BYU’s renowned 9-voice a ccapella male ensemble Vocal Point until recently when he surrendered his position in order to play Nephi in the summer of 2008; just one of the many ways he has contributed to the production. Grant is also the designer and master of this website and works with his brother in documenting and editing the project on video.

(Laman) Matt Erickson was born in Libby, Montana to a musically talented family of eleven. He grew up singing in church and school choirs and was active in theater. After serving a mission in Uruguay, Matt attended Ricks College where he perused a music degree. While at Ricks he sang with the Ricks College A cappella Choir and served as choir president. Matt was also active in musical theatre and opera. He then continued his musical and theatrical studies at Central Washington University where he received a degree in Spanish with a minor in choral conducting. Matt currently sings with the Portland Mormon Choir and Orchestra in which he serves as section leader and has performed as a soloist in two of their concerts. Matt resides in Vancouver with his wife Wendy and 3 children who join him on stage in this production. He also enjoys camping, boating and photography.

(Lemuel) David Blanchard lives in Vancouver with his wonderful wife Lisa and their six children. David works full time as a physical therapist, and spends most of his free time assisting his wife with the homeschooling of their family. He has starred in Anything Goes and appeared in a production of Guys and Dolls, as well as several church theatrical productions. David enjoys singing, participates in choirs whenever he can, and dabbles in piano from time to time. His plans include gaining more skill and experience in music as time permits, and inspiring his children to expand their talents in this arena. All of his children are participating in this production.

(Sam) Jason McKnight is a lifelong musician and performer, originally from Nampa/Caldwell, Idaho. With a wide-range of choral and barbershop singing experience, Jason has also soloed multiple times in productions of Handel's Messiah. In demand through the years as a soloist for special-events both in and out of the Church, Jason also plays the piano and organ. After serving a mission in Guatemala, he sang with Utah Valley University Concert Choir, where he studied and received a degree in Hospitality Management. Jason currently works as General Manager of a Marriott property in Portland, Oregon. He is the proud father of six boys ranging in age form eight months to thirteen years-old, some of whom are participating in this show. In his spare time, Jason assists his wife Candee in keeping the house organized as she runs a busy piano studio in Vancouver.

(The Angel) Dan Webb has participated in a variety of performances including the musicals, Guys and Dolls, Hello Dolly, and West Side Story. Most recently he sang the title role in a Portland production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. He attended Brigham Young University where he was actively involved in BYU Singers as well as several opera ensembles including Carmen and Gianni Schicchi. Dan and his wife, Rebecca have a beautiful two-year-old son named McKay and are expecting their second son in May. Dan currently spends most of his time building and expanding a chain of pet stores in the Portland area called, Nature's Pet, which he co-owns.

(Zoram) Bob Walker made his singing debut at age three when he performed "Dreamer's Holiday" for a Ward party (flawlessly according to his mother). He has been in love with singing and the stage ever since. While juggling the responsibilities of being the father of five, Bob has performed in two operas, two dramatic productions, a melodrama and eight Broadway musicals in Utah, Iceland, Delaware, Montana and Vancouver. He has also sung with groups as small as Barbershop Quartets and as large as the Mormon Youth Chorus and Symphony. Bob had the opportunity to perform at the Liberty Bell Pavilion in Philadelphia, and in the Washington National Cathedral, the Kennedy Center and Madison Square Gardens during a concert tour in 1987. He has been selected to perform the National Anthem four times at the Clark County Fair. Bob is currently serving as the Bass section coordinator in the Portland Mormon Choir and has performed as a soloist in two of their concerts.

(The first son of Ishmael) Troy Katter has had a lifelong love of music; some of his earliest memories are of singing songs with his dad. A member of his high school choir and swing choir, he had several opportunities to solo, including the theme song at the Senior Prom. As a convert to the Church, Troy loves the spirit and power that the hymns can manifest. They have helped him to build upon his testimony and have provided great joy in his life. Troy and his wife Mattye both perform in the Portland Mormon Choir and together have eight children.

(The second son of Ishmael) Bob Wilkes portrayed the second son of Ishmael in the 2007 workshop production and feels it is a great opportunity to reprise the role in 2008. Though playing a "bad guy" is a little uncomfortable for this good guy, Bob has come to understand the importance of "opposition" on stage as well as in life! Prior to With Mine Own Hand, Bob performed as “Solomon Barth” in the musical play: “Within These Walls” and has been a faithful member of many ward and stake choirs. Bob is personally inspired by the message of this production. He and his wife have 8 children and 14 grandchildren.

(Sariah) Gene Darrah has been a musician for as long as she can remember. She plays the piano, the guitar and the string bass. Gene studied voice privately for over 10 years, was a member of Oklahoma State University Vocal Jazz Ensemble and founder of  the vocal jazz group "Vocalese" in Portland. She has soloed with many choirs, including the professional David York Ensemble of Portland. Additionally, Gene has sung with the Utah Opera Company in Aida and with the Portland Opera Company in Treasures of Russian Opera. In 1998 Gene took first place in the Oregon State NATS vocal competition and also won the Oregon American Mothers Vocal Competition in 1997, going on to place third at the nation level. Gene has taught voice and guitar and is a member of NATS (National Association of Teachers of Singing). Her greatest accomplishments however, are her own LDS mission to Guatemala, Quetzaltenango, as well as her 4 wonderful children and husband of 26 years. She currently serves in her Relief Society Presidency.

(Wife of Nephi) Stephanie Christensen Stephanie Christensen was born into a home that instilled a passion for music in her. She has played leading roles in The Music Man and Half a Sixpence, and most recently had the opportunity to portray Mary in the musical production Savior of the World at BYU-Idaho.  Stephanie studied vocal performance at Brigham Young University Idaho and is currently sharing her love of singing by teaching voice lessons and leading a music group for young children. Stephanie and her husband, Jake, have two cute and crazy kids.  Jaxon is three and Sage just turned one.  She currently sings with the Portland Mormon Choir and Orchestra with whom she has performed as a soloist. Some of Stephanie's other interests are cake decorating, hiking, camping, and reading.

(Wife of Ishmael) Martha Helmandollar’s acting debut began as Leah in "III Nephi" in San Jose, California. She has since held other principle roles in Fiddler on the Roof and Meet Me in St. Louis with supporting roles in Music Man, State Fair and Oklahoma!. In addition to ward and stake choirs, she has sung with the Portland Chorale in Carnegie Hall, Metro Southwest Singers, West Linn Community Chorus and is currently a member of the Portland Mormon Choir. She has also sung in Disneyland and throughout Europe with the Stockton Chorale of California, including high mass in Notre Dame Cathedral. Having retired, she and her husband Larry have a blended family of three children and five grandchildren.

(Daughter of Ishmael) Kara Anderson stays at home during the day teaching her three jewels: Ellie (8), Gianna (5) and Dallin (1). She has been married twelve extraordinary years to Joshua Anderson.  Music has always been a special delight in her life. Currently she teaches piano and voice lessons while enjoying rehearsals for ward choir, stake choir, and Portland Mormon Choir during the week. She believes that music is for everyone, for all have music in their hearts. Past theatre productions include Big River, Fiddler on the Roof, Man of LaMancha and most recently portraying the wife of the prophet Abiniadi in the Vancouver West stake production of Abinadi.

(Daughter of Ishmael) Juliana Boyer is a current student of voice (over ten years) and has also studied theatre at the Orange County Performing Arts Center. Her dance background includes jazz, tap and folk. She has also sung with the BYU University Chorale. In California, she served as co-director of the Ladera Ranch Children’s Choir. Her musical theatre experience includes roles in Music Man, George M, Hello Dolly, Wizard of Oz, Pirates of Penzance, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Sound of Music and Oklahoma! as well as a number of church productions. She is a frequent guest soloist for a variety of events in the area and currently sings with the Portland Mormon Choir and Orchestra with whom she has performed as a soloist. Juliana has been happily married for eleven years and is the mother of four children.

(Daughter of Ishmael) Susan Cahoon is a former BYU Ballroom Dancer, featured on the first-string Tour Team. Dancing since age 4, Sister Cahoon is skilled in a wide array of dance styles including ballet, jazz, tap and of course, ballroom. Church members in the Vancouver area remember Susan’s direction as she led over 200 couples in the 2000 Vancouver Dance Festival. She worked with the 2007 Creative Team and served as choreographer for the Workshop Production of With Mine Own Hand. She continues in that important role for the 2008 production, as well as portraying a Daughter of Ishmael. Susan is the mother of four sons, some of whom are joining her in this production.

(Daughter of Ismael) Brittany Foushee has always enjoyed singing and performing. She has been in a number of musical theatre productions in the Portland area. Some of her theatre credits include; the leads in Meet Me in St Louis, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Carousel, Fiddler on the Roof, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat, and The Garden.  She is also a member of the Portland Mormon Choir and Orchestra, where she had the privilege of being a soloist for their first concert. Brittany was a repeat guest for the Al Perez Band where she was able to explore an R&B sound. Brittany continues to study classical music privately and is often invited to perform for events in the Portland area. Brittany enjoys all types of music, but has a special fondness for sacred music.  

(Daughter of Ishmael) Cheryn Hunter has always loved music. In high school she was a part of Centennial High School's State Championship A cappella Choir and C-Note Ensemble. Following high school she played Julie in Gresham Stake's production of Saturday's Warrior and later participated in their production of Women at the Well. Through the years she has been a member of several ward and stake choirs as well as The Stan Gilbert Singers. She is currently performs with “Mama 'C' and her Chick-a-dees" and is a member of the Portland Mormon Choir and Orchestra. She and her husband, Brandon, live in Vancouver with their 5 children, who are also appearing in this production.

(Daughter of Ishmael) Rebecca Webb started taking piano lessons at age 5 and started teaching at age 12. She performed in a plays, choirs and roadshows throughout her childhood. In college, Rebecca took various dance classes, with ballroom as her favorite; winning first place in Samba one year. She received a BM in Piano Performance and MM in Choral Conducting (nearly) from BYU and met her husband through the choral program. She accompanied his choir (the BYU Singers) for a recording once and he turned to his friend and said: “I don't know that girl, but I'm going to marry her!" They hope to have a little family orchestra/choir one day! Rebecca has recently served as accompanist for the Portland Mormon Choir and is now expecting their second son in May.

(Daughter of Ishmael) Hannah Zabriskie’s favorite music comes from the musical theatre stage. She has studied piano, organ and guitar and in college discovered a love for ballroom dance. She has been a featured soloist in every ward of the Vancouver West Stake and recently sang the part of Jarius’ daughter in a production of Women at the Well. She has also performed in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and played Sarah in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. Hannah is a Student Ambassador at Clark College where she also sings with the Women's Ensemble, Vocal Jazz Ensemble and Concert Chior. She will be transferring to BYU-Provo this fall to study her other passions: family history and church history. Hannah has grown up with the music of With Mine Own Hand as the show was developed over the years and has been integral in many ways to its fruition.

(Granddaughter of Ishmael) Siarra Spruill is a freshman this year and is excited to start high school as the only ninth grader in her school's Select Symphonic Women's Choir. Siarra began singing and dancing at age 4 with the Sunshine Generation. She was a member for eight years and then started participating in musicals. Siarra has performed in Treasure Island, Mission Possible, Sermon on the Mound, Alice in Wonderland, and a production with Clark College in the past few years. She has also performed at the Portland Convention Center, at the Hilton Hotel for the Mayor of Vancouver, numerous Oregon and Washington state fairs, and many other locations. Being 14, Siarra's career as a singer is only getting started! She is eagerly looking forward to visiting Provo.

(Granddaughter of Ishmael) Amiee Arnett is twelve-years-old and is jumping out of her shoes because she is so excited to be playing Ishmael’s granddaughter! Singing is something that she has enjoyed since she was very young and has continued to pursue her dream through church choir and voice lessons. One of her greatest passions is music and sometimes she says she feels like she is going to "explode" when she can’t express her love for it enough. She plays the flute in the band at her school and also plays the piano. During any spare time (most of the time she has homework from her excel classes at school) she loves to lose herself in a book. She thinks this show is such a great opportunity and experience and she is so glad to be learning as well as having fun.

(Grandson of Ishmael) Matthew Arnett is ten years old and loves math. He also enjoys doing drama, so considers his part in both the 2007 and 2008 cast a very fun experience. He has participated in movies made at his school, as well as in school plays including one called King Midas. Matthew has a beautiful boy soprano voice. He was very excited when he was told that he and his sister would play Ishmael’s oldest grandchildren because he remembers being very nervous the day he auditioned!


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