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Church program mixes sacred, secular songs of season

December 11, 2006|by JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, PA. - Frosty the Snowman came to life Sunday afternoon and danced around to tunes provided by the music ministries of Otterbein Church in Waynesboro.

There must have been some magic, or else just the harmonies of secular and Christian music, that found Frosty as alive as could be on the stage of the Cumberland Valley Christmas Spectacular.

Joined by Charlie Brown and the Peanuts gang, elves, Mr. Grinch and baby Jesus in a manger, Frosty appeared in two packed-house performances of the show, also sold out for next weekend.

"I think there were a lot of people here from the community," Worship Director Dave Besecker said. "I think a lot of people invited their friends and neighbors."

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The church opted this year to host four performances instead of just one on Sunday morning like in recent years, Besecker said.

"We hadn't been doing anything that would be an outreach into the community," he said.

The secular music was selected for the comfort of people who don't attend church. Four months of preparation preceded the debut show Sunday afternoon.

That show partnered 100 singers and dancers with 50 audio and visual technicians, decorators, bakers and set builders. The voices of the church's young and old were featured.

Helen Ahrens of Chambersburg, Pa., was happy to see even the youngest children participating.

"It's all terrific. It's so nice," said the 88-year-old who has nine great-grandchildren.

Ahrens joined her daughter, Darlene Kaiser of Waynesboro, at the afternoon performance. Kaiser also invited Kevin and Pam Smith of Chambersburg.

"I enjoyed it very much, especially the kids' program," Pam Smith said, adding that "Merry Christmas with Love" was her favorite song. Her husband teared up during that song and accompanying drama, which featured a lonely woman being surprised by carolers.

The 22 participants in the youth choir performed under the direction of Denise Lancaster, who oversees the church's communications and multimedia ministries. The Christmas Spectacular, especially the Charlie Brown section, "challenged a few people who don't usually speak," she said.

"They're not the typical kids that speak out and do things like that," Lancaster said.

Choir member Shirley Motz of Waynesboro started singing when she was 4 years old and living in Boonsboro. She and her four sisters played the organ and piano while singing with community members.

"What did you say was the Baby's Name?" stood out as Motz's favorite song from the Christmas Spectacular.

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