St Nicholas Institute, Santa School Michigan, Santa Claus Training, Santa Claus School

"Where the North American St. Nicholas Revolution Began"







Guest Instructors

Introducing His Just-Released Book: “The Professional Santa Makeup Manual” Ron Wolek

Approach Professional Make-Up Techniques with a Fresh Perspective!

Ron Wolek (above) to release new book: The Professional Santa Makeup Manual.

Ron Wolek is releasing a book, The Professional Santa Makeup Manual, during our 2017 St. Nicholas Institute. Considering Ron’s extensive background, this text is destined to become THE quintessential makeup reference for the professional Santa Claus and/or St. Nicholas and, of course, Mrs. Clauses.

Both “real” bearded and theatrically bearded Kris Kringles will benefit from the manual’s user-friendly compilation of makeup techniques, resources and an array of practical recommendations.

Save on shipping costs by purchasing The Professional Santa Makeup Manual, while attending the 6th Annual St. Nicholas Institute, Monday, October 2 thru Thursday, October 5, 2017 Institute.

Ron is a widely respected professional make-up artist whose work credentials include creating the make-up beards and wigs for the official Disney Santa Claus who've been seen during ABC's annual, nationally broadcast Walt Disney World® Christmas Day Parade, Orlando, FL.

A third-generation hairdresser, Wolek became an assistant makeup artist for the New York City Ballet, a hairdresser for the Disney Cruise Line, a freelance designer of his own theatrical shows, and in time was head of the Orlando Opera's makeup department. Obtaining a paid apprenticeship under Tom Blasco, a highly esteemed special effects makeup artist in Orlando, FL, he was given practical experience as he worked on several significant projects for Walt Disney World. Eventually, in 2007, Ron was hired as Manager of Entertainment Cosmetology at Disneyland.

In addition to his supervisory experience with Disney, Ron employed his artistic talents during first national tours of: War Horse and Motown the Musical. His exceptional make-up skills have also been called upon by: National Geographic Channel and (not surprisingly) Disneyland® Resort, where he served as head of their Hair & Makeup Department for: "A Christmas Fantasy Parade".

Wolek, shares a wide variety of helpful tips drawn from his career working with Santas in Broadway, TV, and motion pictures. Ron’s Santa credentials include: ABC/Disney Christmas Day Parade, Disneyland's A Christmas Fantasy Parade, Elf The Musical at Atlanta's Fox Theatre, Grinchmas at Universal Studios Orlando, and the upcoming Christmas movie adventure "Doggone Christmas". Most recently, his make-up talents were called upon during the production of the soon-to-be-released Christmas film, “Santa Stole Our Dog!”, starring Ed Asner in the title role of Santa Claus.

Introducing New SNI Guest Instructor Veteran Clinical Chaplain Fr. Patrick J. Lowery (Western Rite Priest of the Russian Orthodox Church, ROCOR)

Fr. Pat’s Session Theme:

“ ‘When the Student is Ready, the Teacher Will Appear’: Practical Lessons from the School of Suffering”

Fr. Patrick James Lowery was born October 1953 in Dearborn, Michigan, the youngest of four sons. Four years later the family adopted two infant daughters from an orphanage in Korea. Approximately five years after that, two more children were adopted from Korea.

The empathy skills Fr. Pat now calls upon when ministering to those in pain, were forged in the crucible of his own lifelong experience of suffering; beginning with pneumonia, only days after his birth. The pneumonia continued at various times. Eventually, the reoccurring illness was diagnosed as a specific chronic lung disease. Treatment at the time precluded many childhood pastimes such as sports and outdoor activity that most children take for granted. In addition, illness caused much lost time away from school. As he grew into adolescence, he was advised to play a wind instrument to exercise and expand his lungs. He chose the flute. This opened-up a lifelong and deep interest of music.

Another concession to his illness put him on a lifelong journey – Boy Scouts was out, Acolyte/Server at church was in. Assisting at the Altar served to deepen his faith. As a Server, the prayer, and preparation, and ritual would be a help in understanding that Christ suffers with us in our misfortune and tragedy in life. This provided him with solace and comfort As a child and throughout life, doctor visits, hospital stays, and medical procedures caused anxiety and fear, and a sense of feeling inferior and alone.

You may for a time have to suffer the distress of many trials; but this is so that your faith, which is more precious than the passing splendor of fire-tried gold, may by its genuineness lead to praise, glory, and honor when Jesus Christ appears.” Peter 1:6-7

His secular work included a broad range of experiences, from working at his family’s agricultural business, to teaching at a distressed inner-city Community College and High School. He carries within himself an ever-deepening confidence in God’s unconditional love, a special grace that began in early childhood. This singular grace continues to provide him with a sense of humility, solidarity and empathy, when encountering held tightly in the grip of human suffering.

In his late fifties, physicians said that the state of his lungs had declined to a point where he had about a three-year life expectancy. His only hope of living more than that would be to have a lung transplant. Three years ago, by the grace of God, Fr. Lowery underwent a double lung transplant on a December Sunday after Christmas in 2014. Recovery progressed well and he has, with some ups and downs, been restored to health.

Fr. Lowery now recognizes that all of his life experiences have prepared him for his vocation as an Orthodox Priest. Looking back upon the span of his life with the eyes of faith, he clearly sees that with every challenge faced and with every triumph achieved, the school of suffering was invaluable in shaping the empathy and insights he possesses as he’s ministered to the dying, their families, and the caregivers of the dying in his capacity as a hospice chaplain.

Now retired, Fr. Lowery is enjoying time with his wife, Donna (pictured, above), adult children, and grandchildren. With the blessing of his Russian Orthodox Metropolitan Archbishop, he celebrates Western Rite Divine Liturgy on Sundays with a small group of the faithful in his rectory chapel.

Register for the 2023 St Nicholas Institute Retreat & Seminar Below!

Monday, October 2nd thru October 5th, 2023

Full schedule coming shortly! The cost of the event is $700, with $400 paid now as a deposit and the rest on arrival at the event in October. Register below!







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