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‘Singing Christmas Tree Spectacular’ prepares 40th anniversary performance

Date: 12/12/2014

AGAWAM – Bethany Assembly of God has prepared its “40th Annual Singing Christmas Tree Spectacular,” the church’s “Christmas gift to the Pioneer Valley,” said Minister of Music Ken Bryars.

This year’s production, “The Nativity Symphony,” is a combination of classic Christmas hymns and newer songs, as well, some that Bryars, the production’s director, said he had not heard until preparations began this fall. This mix, he said, will draw both young and old.

“It’s very symphonic, great Christmas hymns done in a contemporary way,” Bryars said. “It appeals to a broad spectrum of people. It’ll knock your socks off. “

Most of the performers come from the congregation, but Bryars said that some former members have returned specifically for the 40th anniversary. Though he is leading the show, Bryars said the actors and the choir that stands in the steel Christmas tree are the ones who make the performance.

“I wave my arms and they do all the work,” Bryars said.
Bryars and Senior Pastor Richard Adams both said that thousands are expected to come out and see the performance. The event, they said, provides a special celebration of Christmas that they may not often see.

“When they come for a performance, they are ready for the Christmas season. Stores try and do that but theirs is, ‘Buy, buy, buy,’” Adams said. “Ours is a bit of a different message. It gets people away from shopping and gives them a different focus, a higher focus.”

The show is meant to bring people closer to the true meaning of Christmas, Adams said. Every year, he continued, they have succeeded in that sense.

“The whole purpose behind it is redemptive. [The audience] is changed. It’s uplifting,” Adams said. “They leave in a better state than when they came in.”

Though there is no charge for “The Singing Christmas Tree Spectacular,” the church accepts monetary gifts from those attending. All of these donations go directly to Latin America ChildCare, an organization that the church works with to build schools in South and Central America.

Members of the church who attend these trips pay their own way. The money raised goes to the supplies that are needed for the school. Past trips have included Bolivia and Nicaragua, but this year they will be headed to Panama City.

Performances will take place from Dec. 5 to 7 and Dec. 12 to 14. Friday shows run at 7 p.m., Saturdays are at 6 p.m. and Sundays are at 3 p.m. and again at 6 p.m.

Individual reservations are not available, but seating for large groups can be set up by calling 789-2930.