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To rekindle interest in classic Biblical messages by using family-friendly story lines, pop opera music, and universal themes in our story telling. 

The word qarab means “offering.”  It appears in nearly all branches of Semitic languages from the earliest times.  
The QARAB ARTISTIC GROUP was formed to develop a series of stories that promote peace through music, art, books, and stage musicals. We’ve titled the series A SIMPLE ODE, an educational, inspiring, amusing and engaging collection of ‘Pop’ Opera Morality Tales that are ideally suited for churches, school groups, homeschoolers and families. 
Using artistic license, our goal is to rekindle interest in numerous classic Biblical messages by inserting 21st Century imagination into the storytelling. 
A Living Peace is our only plan, for PEACE is a wonderful thing.  

The offering has six phases.  The first three phases are “memories from pre-historic times.” 


The fourth phase is a select group of short stories, set to music, taken from the Jewish Torah, and the Christian Bible. Our Good Shepherd stories are “Bible specific.”


The fifth phase is a modern day “science fiction morality tale” inspired by the very real 1687 experiences of the Native Americans of the Seneca Nation, when French troops attacked their “Peace Town,” Ganondagan, Monroe County, New York.


Phase six is a cluster of “snippets” that include memories taken from each of the first five phases, plus additional short musical morality tales.


What Is "QARAB?"
STRONG’S Dictionary – OFFER: 7126. approach, bring near.
7172. qarab kaw-rab; a prim. root; to approach; to offer, present, produce.

VINE’S Expository Dictionary –

7172. “to offer, come near, approach.”
This word (qarab) appears in nearly all branches of the Semitic languages from the earliest times and at all periods. Hebrew also attests the verb at all periods and about 295 times. (It appears 9 times in biblical Aramaic.) … also used in temporal nearness, in the sense that something is about to occur… the idea is not simply being close to something but being actively and personally involved with it. In military contexts the word (qarab) signifies armed conflict.


A SIMPLE ODE is a musical story told in six phases. Phases I and II are based on events from pre history. The next two are based on events from ancient history. The fifth phase is a 21st Century novel. And the sixth is medley of snippets from Phases I through V, plus additional short stories, such as OUR TREE and PRODIGAL SON. 


Who is involved?
E. A. Messenger, storyteller, started QARAB in Rochester, New York, February 22, 1993. He created stories and melodies with the connective theme, “Life is an Attitude.”  E. A. Messenger is the pen name for the creator of A SIMPLE ODE, a collection of pop opera morality tales designed to bring classic Biblical stories to a 21st Century audience through art, music and creative storytelling.

During his 25 year tenure as a 5th grade Religious Ed teacher, Mr. E., as he was called, realized that many of his pre-teen students had very little knowledge of the Bible and its teachings.  He remembers being influenced at that age, and was determined to make a difference in these children’s lives. So he began creating colorful stories set to music that could both teach the children and entertain their parents, grandparents, and family.

When he met Jim Schmitt, an experienced pianist, composer, and musical theater director, Mr. E. was re-energized and inspired to further develop his musicals for the stage.  Messenger and Schmitt have collaborated to create the six phases of A SIMPLE ODE, including award-winning musical projects, THE GARDEN, WHELMED!, THE ARK, GOOD SHEPHERDS, THE FOUR HORSEMEN, and REUNION.

James Schmitt, composer/arranger,teamed up with Messenger in 2007, to tackle the daunting task of transcribing, structuring, chording and arranging all of the music. Schmitt has written all of the vocal and orchestral arrangements, and has recorded, directed and produced the Cast Recordings of the completed Phases. He has also provided additional music and lyrics.

R.J. Ketchum joined the project in early 1997, and brought it to life. An accomplished artist, Ketchum is gifted with humor and exceptional graphic talent. Each of Ketchum’s illustrations is worth “a thousand words,” and hundreds of Rondo’s illustrations are found in the print and online productions of A SIMPLE ODE.

Ron Milko coordinated our 1st and 2nd Edition Coloring Books, and illustrated for THE ARK. “Milks” is a proud Connecticut native, RIT grad, husband, grandfather, commercial artist and all-around nice guy. “Milks” also produces the power point presentations of Messenger’s work for the big screen.

Steve Ketchum, son of Rondo, was instrumental in developing the invitations and posters for the 2008 Little Theatre premier of The Ark. Steve is a highly skilled computer graphics artist who has coordinated the production of the companion books for A SIMPLE ODE, Phases I, II, IV, V and VI.

Laurie Volkmar Cooklis, Fredonia music graduate, began principal transcribing of Messenger’s work in the 1990s, until she was “swept away” by her husband, John, to enjoy marital bliss in far-away Alabama. When Schmitt came on board, he extended her work to a different level.


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