As an active participant in Sunday, December 2 evening’s ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas by the Tanglewood Community Church Choir, I have to say it was quite an experience. Why? Please read on.
Planning for this night of music and fun initially began in February. Once some tentative plans were made, choir members went their own way during the season as many Tanglewood residents do. The Christmas program remained on the hearts and minds of those who offered to help.
For instance, music was selected, props were planned, the red and green plaid bow ties and scarves were made by members of the choir. Potential lighting and tech plans were made. It seems no matter how much planning is done, life happens. Just ask Bonnie Myrto and Reggie DeSmet.
Activity ramped up in October when choir members were handed their packet of music by Janice Arden, choir director. Extra time was added beyond the choir’s usual choir rehearsal. Then, the lighting and tech crew added time in their days to be at rehearsals. The actors began learning their lines, even the two “youngsters” in the play.
Months of prayerful planning came together on Sunday, December 4, at 7pm. The house lights went down, the stage came alive, and Merry Mary Fulton Kelly’s skillful fingers touched the keys of the piano and the music began.
The entire evening was a perfect blend of the fun of the Christmas season to the touching moments of the reason for celebrating the birth of the Christ Child. This was accomplished through the telling of three different tales of The Night Before Christmas.
The first was Grandma Mary Lee Napier’s reading the traditional version followed later by the Biblical telling of the wondrous story by Grandpa Tom McKeever. The youngsters, adorable Colleen Schenking and ornery Ben Yantis, reminded each of us of times when we were young and excited about Christmas.
While waiting for the kids to return with freshly baked cookies, Grandpa Tom and his neighbor (Jim Reynolds) were rearranging tree decorations, the neighbor finally made the connection between the Baby Jesus and the Jesus on the cross. Diane Franklin beautifully signed as the choir sang the very moving song It’s About the Cross.
The final version comes as the choir left the darkened stage to the still dark audience floor. The story told was based on a moment in time during WWI when soldiers from both sides stopped their fighting. It was all made even more authentic for all of us when Renate Donaldson led the “troops” by singing Silent Night in German. Then Lois Eberly echoed the words in English and slowly the audience added their voices. It was beautiful. But, as perfect as all that was, there was something even better for the choir. It was seeing YOU! Over 500 of YOU! You gave us the wonderful gift of love by your presence. Thank you and Merry Christmas!
Several more photos of the night can be found on picture trail. http://www.picturetrail.com/sfx/album/view/24823858