20 December 2010

Back to the Manger

It was nothing short of a privilege that I was able to direct our church's children's choir in their annual Christmas musical, and it was made even better because Eric assisted me. We started rehearsals the first week of September after reviewing several musicals and deciding on this one, which was created by Christy Semsen, who was mentored by the Clydesdales. I love Clydesdale musicals, so I knew this was going to be the perfect musical for our kids to perform. When Eric and I were discussing it yesterday, I concluded that, of all the musicals I have directed or with which I have assisted, this is my favorite. The plot is well-written, and the music is a blast.

Anyway, our kids did a great job. Lukas was cast as Jackson, who does not enjoy Christmas caroling and also does not understand the point in giving at Christmas. A time machine malfunctions taking Jackson and three friends on a journey that bounces them around from decade to decade until they finally end up back at the manger. The story is fun. The lines were delivered better than I could have imagined(and the ad-libbed lines were the best!). The four main characters were cast perfectly. The entire cast came together so well. Everyone knew their lines. The soloists sang like angels. 

Since this is my blog, I will be a little self-indulgent and say that my children were amazing. Lukas had never played a role this large. He did a lot of memorization to play this role! I was never concerned about him memorizing it all. I knew he could do it. What surprised me was his ability to act, I mean really, really act. His facial expressions and body language came naturally. This boy is talented. I believe the Lord is leading him to his sweet spot in ministry already.  His favorite part of the role was the chance he had to rap in the middle of one of the songs. Jackson had a solo rap part, and Lukas definitely embraced it! He had a blast!

Ava played a small role as a 1940s war volunteer, and she also did very well. It was the first time she had any kind of part in a play. Her scene was with Lukas, which made it even better for me as their mama. She also had a solo in the play. She sang half a verse of Away in a Manger. During dress rehearsal, she ended the verse with a very loud, "Hey!" It was hilariously cute, and I wish we had been recording that. 

All of the kids did a great job. I had one child drop out at the last minute because of sickness, and another girl learned her part in just a few days. There were some other last minute things that came up, but we worked it out. The kids were amazing. All of them. I couldn't be more proud of this choir of children who are using their gifts to serve the Lord.

The behind-the-scenes team was also amazing. I had an exceptional team of volunteers serving with me to make this production happen. I am grateful to them. Rehearsals went smoothly because of these people. Props were found. Costumes were found, created or discovered in parts of the church which I didn't know existed. I was repeatedly reminded by one volunteer that everything was fine during dress rehearsal. I needed that. I am so appreciative to so many people. This musical wouldn't have happened without them.

Most importantly, this musical wouldn't have happened without Eric. He began the journey calling himself the "drama coach" and was then re-titled by me as the assistant director. Co-director is probably more like it. Yes, I technically made the final decisions, but he kept me sane and took on anything I asked of him. We have never done anything like this together in quite this capacity. It was a blessing.

In 1996 I spent the summer working at a Salvation Army summer music conservatory. I loved that summer. The Lord put a call on my life that summer to use the musical gifts which He gave to me within the church to reach others. I nearly dropped my music ed major but was advised to continue on that course and instead added a church music degree. At 20, I knew this was what the Lord planned for me, and to see it come to fruition again and again as I have served in churches throughout the past 12 years feels amazing. I have never felt more at home serving the Lord. I have loved this time directing these children. Music is one of God's greatest gifts to me. I am humbled to be used in such a way, and I am grateful for the privilege to once again be serving the Lord as He desires. I am thankful for my calling. I am one blessed gal.

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