Singing the story of Christmas

First Posted: 12/2/2014

Natural light flooded the altar of the Countryside Community Church, Newton Township, on Nov. 30, as members of the children’s choir were gathered to rehearse for the annual Christmas cantata.

Gordan Molitoris, Lily Dennebaum, Cheyanne Richards, Will Cardone, Caleb Molitoris, Janie Kircher and Aden Cardone intently watched cantata director Bob Smith’s cues, as the Rev. Mark Terwilliger, Countryside Community Church pastor, Sue Cagley, a member of the Baptist Bible College faculty and Parker Hill Community Church, Ken Stewart and Scott Miller, both of Countryside Community Church, provided the musical accompaniment of guitars, drums and keyboard. Valerie Black of Shiloh Baptist Church stirred other members of the choir seated in the pews as she sang the gospel song, “When The Little Baby Boy Was Born.”

The group involved in bringing this musical composition to the public free of charge at 1:30 and 4 p.m. Dec. 13, represents a broad spectrum of Christian denominations and a cross-generational mix, said Smith. “We’ve got Methodists, Baptists, Apostolic, Catholics…We’re thankful for the faithful people who come out (to help us).”

Why have they graciously agreed to give their time and talents? Kircher said singing in the choir is a tradition and “it’s really fun to be with everybody in the church and all the kids.” Cagley has been the cantata pianist for five or six years and she explained, “I’m a musician and I love to play. I’ve been involved with them for a number of years and it’s a great opportunity.”

This year Nancy Smith, cantata producer, chose a full work, “Hope of the Broken World,” a 2012 Christmas musical by David Clark and David Clydesdale.

“It’s the Christmas story framed from the idea that God sent Jesus into a world to repair,” Bob Smith said.

Other years, he said, “Sometimes it’s a compilation of Christmas music we put together ourselves and other times it is whole work that is done by a certain composer and arranger. I think everybody will find something they enjoy at the cantata. Of course we want to get the Christmas story across.”

Selections from the musical include the songs, “Let There Be Joy,” “Sing We Gloria,” “A Strange Way to Save the World, “Who Could Imagine a King?” and “When the Little Baby Boy Was Born.”

Smith said, as a director, this work enables him to realize the importance of the Christmas story. “It enables me to really plug in to the idea of peace among one another, whatever our ethnicity, age, background, church, or politics…We can all come together and celebrate the gift of Christmas…this helps to bring the magic of Christmas back to me…helps center me on the true meaning of Christmas.”

The program will also include a piece entitled “The Glory of His Promises,” as a tribute to military men and women who are unable to be with their families at Christmas time.

Refreshments will be served at 3 p.m. For more information, call 570-587-3206.

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