bridget manley/daily press
Jordyn Caddy, a Moffat County High School senior and cast member in “Rehearsal for Murder,” takes a bow Thursday night at the high school auditorium. The play opened Thursday as planned, even though MCHS teacher Heather Dahlberg, who was directing the play, received word Wednesday that three of her family members died in a plane crash en route to see the production.

Photo by Bridget Manley

bridget manley/daily press Jordyn Caddy, a Moffat County High School senior and cast member in “Rehearsal for Murder,” takes a bow Thursday night at the high school auditorium. The play opened Thursday as planned, even though MCHS teacher Heather Dahlberg, who was directing the play, received word Wednesday that three of her family members died in a plane crash en route to see the production.

MCHS play moving forward in spite of tragedy

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bridget manley/daily press Melinda Hall, right, helps Derek Maiolo, a Moffat County High School sophomore, prepare for the second act of “Rehearsal for Murder” Thursday night in the dressing room behind the MCHS auditorium. Hall, a friend of MCHS theater teacher Heather Dahlberg, volunteered to help with the production.

Heather Dahlberg, a Moffat County High School teacher, lost three relatives in a plane crash Wednesday who were en route to Craig to watch a school play she had been directing.

The play continued as planned at the request of Dahlberg and her theater students, MCHS Principal Thom Schnellinger said.

“The kids determined that … in the tradition of any theater, the show must go on,” Schnellinger said.

He lauded the student actors’ wishes to continue with the production, “Rehearsal for Murder,” a 1930s-era mystery.

The play opened Thursday night before an estimated audience of 150 people inside the MCHS auditorium, and continues with performances at 7 p.m. tonight and Saturday.

“I’m just stunned and inspired by our kids’ courage and their poise through this (time),” Schnellinger said.

According to a news release from the McLeod County, Minn., Sheriff’s Office, authorities were notified at 11:06 a.m. Central time Wednesday that a plane had crashed about 3.5 miles north of Glencoe, Minn.

Heather Dahlberg’s brother, Stuart Douglas Dahlberg, 52, of the Twin Cities area, was believed to be the operator of the single-engine Beechcraft Bonanza, according to the McLeod County release.

Also on board were Stuart’s wife, 36-year-old Ivelisse Suarez Morillo, also of the Twin Cities area, and Heather Dahlberg’s mother, 76-year-old Mae Elaine Dahlberg, of St. Cloud, Minn., according to the release.

WCCO-TV in Minnesota reported a local farmer was the first person on the scene at the crash site and said he found three adults and three dogs, all deceased.

The Federal Aviation Administration reported, according to the TV station, that it appears the plane was not in radio contact with a nearby tower before the incident, but was using visual flight rules.

The National Transportation Safety Board is leading an investigation into the crash with help from the FAA.

A final determination of the cause may not be available for a year or more, which is typical in these types of investigations, FAA spokeswoman Elizabeth Isham Cory said.

As of Thursday night, the FAA had yet to determine where the plane departed from or where it was headed.

Craig resident Melinda Hall, a friend of Dahlberg’s, said the MCHS theater and choir teacher’s family was traveling to see her students perform in the play.

Heather Dahlberg learned of the crash just before a cast dress rehearsal Wednesday afternoon, Hall said.

On Thursday morning, Schnellinger said Dahlberg was not under any obligation to direct the play.

“We are absolutely going to roll with her wishes and desires in terms of where she feels she can assert herself and comfortably move through this whole thing,” he said.

However, Dahlberg was in attendance Thursday night and introduced the play, saying, “I just want to thank all of you for being here tonight to support the Moffat County theater department.”

She declined to comment for this story.

During the intermission, Hall gave actors feedback on their performances and helped them make last-minute adjustments to their costumes. She was one of several volunteers, including parents and MCHS staff, who offered to help with the production Thursday night.

“Heather Dahlberg would probably be a little upset if they’ve come this far and not followed through with it,” Hall said.

“The kids were all in agreement (Wednesday) night, that they’re going to run through the finish line and they’re going to carry this all the way to Saturday night.”

Mae Dahlberg was a devoted supporter of the high school’s choir and theater programs, and she often came to Craig to watch her daughter’s students perform in play and choir concerts, said Kat Thompson, one of the cast’s members and a MCHS senior.

“We know that she’s still watching us, so we want to give her the best show that we can,” she said.

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Comments

lonelyone 2 years, 9 months ago

The kids are determinded the play go on, but what about the teacher? Maybe she feels she needs to be with her family during this time?? Just wondering

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lonelyone 2 years, 9 months ago

Maybe I'm not reading the article right? Maybe she is with her family and the students will continue on without her??

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David Moore 2 years, 9 months ago

That's how I see it, the kids are going on with the production without her. Sorry for her loss, tragic. Proud of the kids though.

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lonelyone 2 years, 9 months ago

Yes, if they are managing to go ahead and do the play without her and carry the load she would have been doing if she were there, then it speaks volumes for the kids and their respect for all that she has taught them. I hope it all goes well for them. I don't know this teacher, but am also sorry for her loss.

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Jason Phillips 2 years, 9 months ago

I don't see this as being particularly praiseworthy.

I'm not going to criticize the kids either - but there isn't anything particularly admirable about conducting a high school play after the teacher suffers a monumental tragedy. I'm sorry for her loss and I don't particularly care about a (relatively) insignificant high school drama production.

Again, I'm not saying they shouldn't have done it... But they don't deserve praise solely for moving on with their lives after being unaffected by someone else's personal loss.

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Colette Erickson 2 years, 9 months ago

"The play continued as planned at the request of Dahlberg...." They are doing what the teacher asked - read the article before you cast stones.

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valleylocal 2 years, 9 months ago

Buff_bronco_fan- You are an inconsiderate piece of work. How could you write something to the magnitude that you did!!! This is a huge loss to Mrs. Dahlberg. I have suggested removal of your insensitive and appalling message, PLEASE CDP, remove Buff_bronco_fans comment.

Thanks 3canines for taking the time to educate the ignorant commenters-READ and/or RE-READ the article people. Have a great day, God bless Mrs. Dahlberg, her family, and her cast and crew.

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Jason Phillips 2 years, 9 months ago

@3canines - The article also says that the decision was left up to the kids and that she was under no obligation to direct... So I came away with the impression that the show was going on with or without Dahlberg... In which case she's obviously going to support her students rather than cause a stink. I just can't help but wonder if it would have been a better show of support to postpone the play... That's my point here.

@valleylocal - Of course it's a huge loss for Mrs. Dahlberg! That's my whole point. Go reread my post. My heart absolutely breaks for her and it just seems very insensitive to say "the show must go on" after she just lost her brother and mother.

My whole concern here is with Dahlberg. She didn't comment for the story. She was going through the biggest tragedy of her life... Why not delay the play a couple weeks? Life is much more important than a high school drama... If you find that insensitive, then I think you misunderstand.

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Colette Erickson 2 years, 9 months ago

Buff: "However, Dahlberg was in attendance Thursday night and introduced the play, saying, “I just want to thank all of you for being here tonight to support the Moffat County theater department.”

It would seem, based on the foregoing, that Ms. Dahlberg wanted the "show to go on."

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j4mom7 2 years, 9 months ago

If your comments are misunderstood, then maybe you should go back to freshman English and learn how to appropriately express yourself. I found your posts to be so rude and insensitive as to be heinous. This is a tremendous loss for Ms. Dahlberg, and by extension, for those who are a part of her life...especially the young people who may have never been "affected" by a loss like this so close. They all could have stepped away to grieve, but instead they all chose to stand up and honor those lost in the only way they knew how. I find that to be not only commendable but also showing great character. Deepest sympathy to Ms. Dahlberg in her time of loss, and to those who are sharing it with her.

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j4mom7 2 years, 9 months ago

My previous comment is directed solely at "Buff".

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David Moore 2 years, 9 months ago

Read today's editorial. I think Buff just got pwned.

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