Faith Bible Church presents 'The Living Christmas Tree'
A special Christmas program titled “The Living Christmas Tree” will be presented Saturday, Sunday and Dec. 22 at Faith Bible Church in Connellsville.
“This is our 20th year. We invite everyone to experience this unique program,” the Rev. Barry Witt said. “There is a new cantata this year. It is “The Love of God at Christmas,” adapted from a song in one of our church hymn books.”
Performances begin at 7:30 each evening. Admission is free.
The huge Christmas tree has 10,000 colorful lights and will be filled with more than 40 singers and a crew of nearly that many.
Some do double duty, Witt said. They help set up and they also sing.
The frame gets assembled by four people, the greenery is added by five people, 14 people then put up the lights. There are sound people, too. It is a joint effort involving many people.
Practices have been held since early September. Participants are of all ages — young teenagers through older adults. There are always more women, but also a good representation of men, Witt said.
The production is a four-part harmony with sopranos, altos, tenors and bass. Most of the performers are Faith Bible Church members, but there are a few others from the community who come in, too.
“Our folks get really excited to present the program each Christmas. They look forward to it and hope the community enjoys it. I never tire of it. It makes the holiday special and gives a warm feeling,” Witt said.
There are six soloists who rotate in the three solo parts at the three performances. They are Candy Kinnan, Kimberly Humbert, Jeff Prutz, Matthew Witt, Jamie Tressler and Debbie McFadden. David Reed Sr. is the director each year. Stephen Regish has been the operator of the lights for 20 years.
He runs the 10 lines of color manually, so no two programs are identical, Witt said.
Barry McFadden narrates. There are many people behind the scenes making the production work.
At the end of the program, all the singers come out of the tree and everyone sees the 10,000 lights of the tree. The audience then joins in singing “Silent Night.”
The program is an hour long. Many area residents have seen it for more than 20 years and come back each year, some come back and bring friends to a second or third performance each year, Witt said.
The audience is usually about 150 people, which fills the sanctuary.
“This is our gift to the community at Christmas time, there is no charge to attend,” Witt said.
The church is located at 425 S. Arch St. in Connellsville. For more information, call 724-628-7055.
Nancy Henry is a freelance writer.