It’s time for choir members at Abilene Baptist Church to rock around the Christmas tree.
Four presentations of Abilene’s 33rd annual Singing Christmas Tree are scheduled at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 3 and 7 p.m. Sunday.
The seasonal performances typically bring 4,500 to 6,000 people to the church, which is across from the intersection of Washington and Columbia roads, said Abilene Music Minister Tommy Sunderland.
“We hear all the time from folks ... that the Singing Christmas Tree starts their season off,” Sunderland said.
About 85 members from the sanctuary choir are positioned within a 30-foot wooden Christmas tree decorated with live greenery, multi-colored lights and ornaments.
This year, the program is titled Worship the One ... Jesus and will consist of contemporary Christmas songs such as Emmanuel (Hallowed Manger Ground.) Other carols include Worship the One and Mariah Carey’s One Child.
The children’s choir will join adult members on stage for several songs, Sunderland said. Also, a nativity scene, accompanied by song, is acted out in front of the audience.
Ten minutes before each performance, Sunderland said, the choir warms up by singing a selection of secular carols such as It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas and The Twelve Days of Christmas.
“We open (the doors) an hour before the program starts, so many people come then,” Sunderland said. “They want to make sure they get a good seat.”
The church sanctuary can seat up to 1,300 people, said Sunderland, adding that Saturday night is typically the most packed showing.
People are encouraged to pick up free admission tickets in advance.
Those with tickets get in first.
“If they’re going to wait until the last minute to decide, then they probably need to come on Sunday at 3 o’clock or 7 o’clock to get their best chance at the best seat,” Sunderland said.
Tickets can be picked up at Abilene’s main office, which faces Gary’s Hamburgers.
Sunderland also asks people to bring an unwrapped new toy to give to Toys for Tots.
For information, call the church at (706) 869-1774.