We wanted to acknowledge and give notice of the 45’ drop cloth to be used in our mission trip program (GreatPassionPlay.org/mission-trips). You trespassed on our property and hung this drop cloth from the Christ of the Ozarks memorial statue and put your lives at risk as well as the people’s lives who took it down. You used our statue to further your platform, but we are thankful for the opportunity to share our mission. The Passion Play is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to lifting up the miraculous life, sacrificial death, burial, and ultimately the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
We pray those who hung this banner are able to come and see Jesus hung on the cross in a production that has been seen by over 8 million people now. Performances are on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturday nights through the end of October. Security is now stationed overnight at the Christ of the Ozarks as well. We will not accept additional donations from your organization.
Peace be to all who are in Christ,
The Great Passion Play Staff
PO Box 471
Eureka Springs, AR 72632
History of the Opera in the Ozarks:
Inspiration Point, poetically described as “a mountainous place not too many miles from Heaven” is located northwest of Eureka Springs, Arkansas, on Scenic U.S. Highway 62, overlooking the White River valley some 600 feet below. Creating one of the most idyllic scenes, the lowlands merge in the background into range after range of the incomparably beautiful Ozarks.
Dr. Henry HobartIn 1928 a German-born architectural engineer, Charles Mowers, purchased the land overlooking the valley and began construction of a castle patterned after those of the Rhine River valley. In 1932 the unfinished castle and the grounds were purchased by Rev. Charles Scoville, a Christian missionary who completed the castle and gave it its name, Inspiration Point. When he died in 1938 his wife gave the entire Inspiration Point estate to Phillips University, a Christian university in Enid, Oklahoma.
In 1950, Dr. Henry Hobart, former Dean of Fine Arts at Phillips University, was contacted with regard to starting a summer music camp on the grounds. With the support of Gertrude Stockard, Director of Music at Eureka Springs High School, Inspiration Point Fine Arts Colony came into being during that summer.
The first Fine Arts colony session was held in 1950 for four weeks. It was patterned after most any other camp across the country, with a little of everything in vocal and instrumental music and dramatic art. However, Dr. Hobart and Ms. Stockard wanted something different and distinctive, and decided to make Inspiration Point into an opera or music drama summer workshop conducted under the highest professional standards and carefully planned for the young voices of talented college, high school and outstanding junior high students. All opera roles would be performed in their entirety by the students; no lead singers would be brought in to sing the principal roles. The theme of Inspiration Point Fine Arts Colony would be “The students are the stars”.
For the first two years a major portion of the funds needed for operating expenses and capital expenditures were provided by Dr. and Mrs. Hobart and by loans from Phillips University. Some construction materials were donated by Eureka Springs businesses, but the financial needs quickly grew greater than the Hobarts and the handful of loyal supporters could continue to meet.
For a number of years Dr. Hobart had been state opera chairman for the Oklahoma State Federation of Music Clubs. He suggested to Leta Mae Smith of Lawton, the Federation president, that they sponsor the youth opera workshop. Miss Smith was quick to agree and invited the state federations of Arkansas, Kansas, and Missouri to become co-sponsors of the project. By 1993, Illinois, Texas, and Iowa had also joined the group.
Dr. Isaac Van GroveDr. Hobart’s philosophy with regard to the faculty for Inspiration Point was to try to get only the best. As a result, a number of eminent artists at the top of their professions have been associated with Inspiration Point. During the early years, the most outstanding of these was Dr. Isaac Van Grove. His accomplishments as an opera composer, conductor of leading opera companies, vocal coach and accompanist for several world famous singers qualified him as an opera director of the highest order. For twenty years, up to her death in 1976, Joan Woodruff, wife of Dr. Van Grove and an internationally known choreographer and ballet instructor, taught advanced ballet, stage action and stylized dance forms at Inspiration Point. Dr. Van Grove was the Artistic Director at Inspiration Point for 25 years. He died in 1979 at the age of 86.
The effectiveness of training received at Inspiration Point has been demonstrated many times over by the successes by alumni in their opera careers. Many are internationally famous. Many have sung on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera company as well as opera companies in Chicago, New York City, San Francisco, Houston, Switzerland, and Germany.
Inspiration Point continues to grow and flourish. What began in 1950 as a summer music camp, has evolved into a mecca where university students and graduates in Voice, Instrumental Music, and related arts come to prepare for professional careers, a place where opportunity, music, artist and audience meld with the beauty and splendor of the Ozark Mountains. Beginning in 1993, our strong focus on opera led to our Company name, OPERA IN THE OZARKS at INSPIRATION POINT.
Thanks to the hard work of our work crews Missouri Campers on Mission, the Crawford Family and their church, Stanley Cassidy, Steve and Kelly Smith, many others, and the roofing/construction lead Denny and Linda Ball assisted by Mark Scott, we were able to complete the roofing of the Sacred Arts Museum. This was a gargantuan task. We started on Monday, April 5, 2021 with taking off the old tile and finished taking it off on Friday, April 9, 2021. Putting on the new metal faux tile roof, took some time, but due to the hard work and perseverance of Denny and Mark, we were able to finish the project on Friday, May 14, 2021.
We still have a ways to go with the restoration of the museum, but we are thankful to have it weather tight!
3rd Spotlight Tower added in 2020
We are very thankful to the volunteer help and material contributions of Dover Christian Church of Oklahoma and Corinth Baptist Church of Louisiana. These two churches have been instrumental in the addition of our petting zoo area, the spotlight towers on the set, and numerous other projects throughout the grounds. Here's a before and after look as well as a progress shot of the 3rd spotlight tower that they've put in for the Passion Play.
Additionally, the First Christian Church of Stilwell, Oklahoma did an awesome job of staining the tower to help it look great for a long time as well as completing a walkway to connect the pathway to the cross to the walkway to the statue.
Statue Walkway completed by First Christian Church of Stilwell, Oklahoma
Bethlehem Area in Holy Land Improvements
New Porch for the Church in the Grove--Arkansas Campers on Mission
The Great Passion Play will be performed in memory of Richard Griffith on Saturday, October 17. Richard has been a cast member of the Passion Play since 1969 until he went to be with the Lord on Friday, September 25, 2020.
Richard performed as a Roman soldier before over 7.5 million people in that period of time.
He will be greatly missed by all his co-workers who count him as family.
Richard's memorial service will be held at New Day Fellowship in Eureka Springs, Arkansas on Sunday, October 18 at 4:00pm. Please wear a mask out of respect for the State's regulations.
If My Peopleby Jack E. Dawson
If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14
The artist had originally thought the hands mending the flag would be a founding father, but as he sketched the original painting his mind was drawn to the scars of Christ and His promise in 2 Chronicles 7:14. Here the nail-scarred hands of Jesus mend our flag, just as His tender hands will mend the heart of our nation if His people pray! The tattered flag speaks of neglect and unconcern for our founding principles as bullet holes proclaim the spiritual and physical warfare waged for our freedom. One blood-tinged hole symbolizes the sacrifice of the flag bearer. The image of an unborn child testifies that life is precious at any age, but notice that the face of evil rises in the smoke of the Twin Towers. Though we live in a world of violence and tragedy, the crimson thread that brings wholeness to the flag illustrates the hope and healing brought by the crimson thread of His death, burial and resurrection that is woven throughout the Bible. Can you see His people praying in the flag? Are you praying and seeking His face? He promises if we do, He will hear and forgive and heal our land.
The Great Passion Play is devoted to making the Scriptures come alive!