Toledo Ballet Announces Community Leaders from CedarCreek Church, Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, and Toledo Walleye as Mother Gingers in the 77th Annual Nutcracker Productions

Published Wednesday, November 29, 2017 9:00 am

The Toledo Ballet is proud to announce Pastor Ben Snyder (CedarCreek Church), Jim White (Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick LLP), Dan Watson (Head Coach of the Toledo Walleye), and Makayla Calgie (sophomore at St. Ursula Academy) as Mother Gingers for this season’s 77th Annual production of The Nutcracker.

In Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker, appearance of Mother Ginger in Act Two brings a light-hearted distraction from the more serious roles in the ballet. Best recognized by her enormous hoop skirt from which her Gingersnap children spill out at the beginning of their dance, Mother Ginger’s antics delight audiences with equal part hilarity and cute-factor from the children. The role is traditionally played by a man, in part because of the weight of the dress.

“Toledo Ballet’s Nutcracker has a rich history of community participation in its Nutcracker productions. For decades, the Toledo Symphony has collaborated with Toledo Ballet to bring Tchaikovsky’s iconic score to life. The involvement of community leaders as Mother Ginger adds another facet to the production that makes this truly a production by the community for the community,” says Felecia Kanney, Toledo Symphony’s Director of Marketing.

Pastor Ben Snyder from CedarCreek Church will play the role of Mother Ginger on Saturday, December 9 at 2 p.m. Snyder is the lead pastor for one of the largest and fastest-growing churches in the United States. CedarCreek Church has approximately 1,500 members, and more than 8,000 regular attendees at the church’s five campuses. In 2014, Snyder delivered an Easter weekend message to more than 25,000 people. Snyder was recipient of the 2016 20 Under 40 award and was selected as the “Top Religious Leader” by the Toledo City Paper’s Best of Toledo 2015. Seeker of adventure, Snyder has also completed six marathons, five Tough Mudder competitions, consisting of 10-12 miles of mud and obstacles built to test mental grit, camaraderie, and physical fitness.  A self-described “Experience Collector”, Mr. Snyder seeks new experiences and actively pursues his passions, among them: family, God, and the community.

Jim White from Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick LLP will play the role of Mother Ginger on Saturday, December 9 at 7 p.m. Born and raised in Zanesville, Ohio, White moved on to earn his undergraduate degree from Princeton University. He later graduated from The Ohio State University College of Law and The New York University School of Law, Graduate Division.

Joining the prestigious law firm, and Toledo institution, Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, LLP in 1967, Jim White made partner in 1972, where he continued to practice in the areas of mergers and acquisitions, public and private securities financings, venture capital placements and general business, tax and estate planning through his legal career. White currently serves in an Of Counsel position with the firm.

Among the numerous professional honors and community accolades he has accumulated, include: The Press Club of Toledo’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2002; in 2005 the Community Service and Achievement Award by the Northwest Ohio Chapter of the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation; Ottawa Hills, Ohio Community Hall of Fame, as well as many honors from his peers in the legal community.

Dan Watson, Head Coach of the Toledo Walleye will play the role of Mother Ginger on Sunday, December 10 at 2 p.m. Born in Glencoe, Ontario, on the ice and for the ice, Dan has never been frozen to it: moving swiftly and lethally through seven seasons in the AHL, UHL and ECHL. Nervy and effective as a potent player, Dan thawed and accepted the Walleye’s offer to hire him for their inaugural 2009-2010 season. Dan has found the leadership role of coaching, and its related responsibilities of player development, recruitment, and character cultivation to be the more challenging, and yet, still quite fulfilling.

For Dan Watson, becoming Mother Ginger conjures up all the elements he employs to animate and engage his players. Gently, but firmly with the Gingersnaps, generously and resolutely with the Walleye, Dan has led the hockey team to a 97-35-12 record. Dan is excited to be a part of the Toledo Ballet’s 77th Annual Nutcracker production this December.

Makayla Calgie is a sophomore at St. Ursula Academy and will perform as Mother Ginger in a school day production of the Nutcracker on Friday, December 8 at 11 a.m. Calgie began dancing when she was four years old. From dance recitals to play rehearsals, Calgie has always loved being onstage. She is very active in student life at St. Ursula Academy, participating in tennis, Ambassador Society, student council, and sings in the Carnegie choir. Makayla Calgie also participates in St. Ursula musicals, most recently being the northwest Ohio premiere of Sister Act.

This season’s Mother Gingers join an impressive list of community members who previously held the role, including Randy Oostra (President and CEO of ProMedica), Dick Anderson (Chairman Emeritus of the Board of The Andersons, Inc.), Norman Zemmelman (Law Professor at the University of Toledo) and Toledo actor Paul Causman.

“What makes live performances so special is the fact that no two performances are alike. This is especially true with the different Mother Gingers we have this season. We are going to have a lot of fun sharing The 77th Annual Nutcracker with the community. I hope everyone can make it to a show!” says Felecia Kanney.

Three performances of The 77th Annual Nutcracker with the Toledo Ballet and Toledo Symphony will take place December 9th at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. and December 10th at 2 p.m. at the Stranahan Theater. Tickets range from $24-$56 and can be purchased by calling 419-246-8000 or visiting For more information please contact Felecia Kanney, Director of Marketing at


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