Abilene Baptist Church celebrates the silver anniversary performance this year of its Singing Christmas Tree by delving into the past.
"We're going back to certain years that had outstanding pieces of music in it and pull that piece of music out and perform it this year," said the Rev. William F. Harrell, Abilene Baptist's pastor. "We'll also be using videotape of the original performance and project that onto screens on either side of the tree. We'll show about 30 seconds of the original performance and then fade into the live performance."
First performed in 1979, the Singing Christmas Tree has become a Christmas tradition in Columbia County. Harrell estimates that 1,500 people will attend each of the five performances Dec. 12-14.
"People have said it's the hardest ticket in Augusta to get, except for Masters tickets," Harrell said. "A lot of people say it starts their Christmas season for them."
Standing at 35 feet tall, the tree is a wooden structure in the shape of a Christmas tree and decorated with Northern spruce greenery from Oregon, hundreds of oversized decorations and several thousand computer-programmed lights. More than 100 vocalists will be standing in the tree to perform.
The performance uses a narrator and incorporates dramatic elements to accentuate the songs. Twelve carols will be sung, including Angels We Have Heard on High, Child of God and Sing Noel.
Tom Albright, Abilene's former minister of music and original producer of the tree, will return to lead some of the songs.
Performances will be Dec. 12-14 at 7 p.m. and Dec. 13-14 at 3 p.m.
Tickets are free and available at Abilene Baptist, 3917 Washington Road in Martinez. For more information, call 869-1774.
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