Follow Christ, Lead the Way
Behind the Scenes: Inside Festival of Carols image

By Amber Ginter ‘19

Behind the scenes, behind the curtains of this year’s Festival of Carols, the perspective is different for the eyes of this observer, who happens to be part of the creative moment team.  The choirs warm their vocal cords until their voices float in glorious harmonies across the auditorium. The actors labor in hectic preparation to perform with excellence and seeming effortlessness.

Learning choreography with live choirs singing was a challenge that Movements from the Heart (MFTH), the creative movement team, met in the practice time afforded before the first performance for the audience. Performing “Joyful, Joyful” and “Janeman” gave MFTH opportunity to be a blessing through creative movement.

The ensemble of choirs, solo vocalists, and musicians gave a unified performance pleasant to the ear and warming of the heart. Performers worked as one, as, similarly, Christ encourages followers to be His body to complete His will. From the orchestra sitzprobe (seated rehearsal) to early-morning preparation, the performers give heart and soul so that the Good News would touch the audience.

Addressing the Festival’s purpose, Stage Director Valerie Jones explains these productions require the close teamwork of those who wish to lead others to worship Him. The University’s largest event, the Festival celebrates Jesus’ birth creatively year after year.

Working with Director of the University Chorale Dione Bennett since January, Jones interprets Bennett's vision and creates a drama that will move audiences. Of the theme, Jones says, “Her vision was ‘peace on earth,’ showing Christmas celebrations across the globe. It’s new and visually stunning, including lighting and culture themes for the carols with movements by drama and creative movement teams. It’s exciting to have the groups celebrating Christ’s birth together.”

The Gospel is proclaimed through different ethnic expressions. As Bennett explains, “These performances show praising Christ happens in many cultures. We should worship together, offering peace on earth that pushes others to find Christian faith."

Featured carols were "Around the World at Christmas Time,” “March of the Toy Soldiers,” and “Christmas Festival,” followed by the main event chorus of “Betelehemu,” “Huron Carol,” “Still, Still, Still,” “O Come All Ye Faithful,” “Silent Night,” “Joy to the World,” “Carol of the Bells,” “Star of Wonder Medley,” “Joyful, Joyful,” “Janeman,” “All Praise to Thee,” and “I heard the Bells.” 

Festival of Carols: Peace on Earth brought hope to attendees during this Advent season.

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