You could feel the sense of excitement as soon as you walked on to the grounds at the Canadian Badlands Passion Play yesterday around showtime.

Actors, and volunteers were busy bustling around doing their part to put on one of the greatest shows the valley has ever seen, for their 25th season.

It was surreal for everyone, including LaVerne Erickson, who has been with the Passion Play since the beginning. Erickson, founder of The Rosebud School of Arts, helped form a committee to gain support for the project in 1988.

"When we first started, we came out to bare hills. There was nothing here. We went into Drumheller to find an acoustically good place to perform and it turned out that the best place was right within the town limit," said Erickson. "I presented the idea initially, and coined the name Canadian Badlands as the first part of Passion Play. Now Canadians Badlands is Canada's largest municipal tourism cooperation."

Erickson also reminisced about times before all the benches in the amphitheater were built and asking audience members to bring lawn chairs.

Among the many preparing for the show was Executive Director Vance Neudorf.

"This is incredible to reach 23 years here in Drumheller at the Canadian Badlands Passion Play. And I would attribute that to the great people here who built this place and have staffed it. Without the volunteers and the incredible people here in Drumheller, this would not exists," said Neudorf.

While every year the Passion Play brings something different to their performance, this year boasts something special.

"This particular year there is fourteen new songs written especially for us, and then putting the band onstage just brings a new life and element to it," explained Neudorf.

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