This wide group of “I AM” students comes together every year on the Shasta Springs grounds for a two-week conclave in preparation for the pageant, which implements rigorous rehearsal schedules and commitment to practice.

A small crowd gathered at the G.W. Ballard Amphitheater on Sunday, Aug. 11 to view the annual “I AM Come” pageant presented by the “I AM” students of Mount Shasta.

In addition to the role of the Mount Shasta student body, others from all over the world – ranging from Canada, Switzerland, Germany, New Zealand, and Argentina, as well as those from other parts of California and the U.S. – were also present and played significant roles in acting, production, and set work.

This wide group of “I AM” students comes together every year on the Shasta Springs grounds for a two-week conclave in preparation for the pageant, which implements rigorous rehearsal schedules and commitment to practice. As a result, the actors are very well versed in their roles, making for a smooth and authentic performance.

Falling at around four hours in length, the pageant consists of 21 scenes divided into two parts with an intermission in between. Each scene carries an impact as the actors’ emotional effort shows through, defining each character in dialogue and action, all working to emphasize the main point of the performance: the life and teachings of Jesus Christ.

From a religious standpoint, the pageant elegantly portrays these themes with thought-provoking philosophical insight and a loose Biblical accuracy, focusing more on the positive elements of the story than the negative.

Known for its depiction of Jesus’s ascension into heaven, the final scene of the pageant serves to further show how much work goes into the whole production. The elaborate mechanical setup on the hill behind the amphitheater consists of an artificial tree, a pulley system, a special effects crew, and a life-size LED Jesus to give the impression of the figure rising into the sky.

Word of the event spreads, and some travel to be a part of the audience.

“It was nothing like any other religious plays I’ve seen before,” said Grace Helmuth, 17, who came to Mount Shasta from Sacramento to see the pageant with friends. “(The pageant) has huge detailed sets and a big cast with a serious devotion to the craft.”

The pageant takes place on the second weekend in August every year, presented on both Fridayy night and Sunday morning, and is open for the public to attend. No payment or pre-event scheduling is required.

Those interested are welcome to take a place in the audience, and may arrive or leave at any point during the performance.

Overall, the accepting atmosphere and sense of community the pageant brings to town serves as a way to unite people of similar faith, making it valuable to many.