A Christmas Cantata celebration

Members of the Federated Church handbell choir perform during the community Christmas Cantata held Dec. 16 at the church. (Empire Press photo/Karen Larsen)


By Karen Larsen
Empire Press Correspondent

Gateway Ministries children perform “Away In A Manger.” (Empire Press photo/Karen Larsen)

A large?group?of community members filled the Federated Church Dec. 16 for the second annual community Christmas Cantata.

The cantata featured the performance of ?The Glory of Christmas? by Lloyd Larson. Phyllis Browning directed the choir. There were also performances by the Federated Church handbell choir directed by Jill Thompson and by children from Gateway Ministries. Dee Shriner accompanied throughout on the piano. Bobby Ann Willms and James Robinson served as narrators for the Christmas story that was told through song.

The congregation also had a chance to participate in the singing of several carols, including “Silent Night” at the end of the performance.

Rosemary Holcomb, Abbie Smoke and Olivia Smoke perform “Jesus Is Born Tonight!” with the community choir. (Empire Press photo/Karen Larsen)

Browning said that she felt good about this year?s performance, and said that the best part is getting the community together.

?It just feels more like celebrating Christmas,? Browning said.

She said that her favorites were the children?s contributions and the addition of solos with other instruments. Thompson played a harp solo and Suzanne Robinson played a flute solo.

Members of the audience also felt that the event was particularly meaningful because it brought the community together.

Marlaine Peterson, who attends Gateway Ministries, said that she really enjoys seeing people in the community working together on a?program like this.

The community choir performs a song from “The Glory of Christmas” by Lloyd Larson. (Empire Press photo/Karen Larsen)

Cory Milbrandt said, ?The idea of the community coming together is fantastic.?

Olivia Smoke, who sang ?Jesus Is Born Tonight!? with her sister Abbie and with Rosemary Holcomb, said she really enjoyed having the chance to sing. Smoke said she also has performed the national anthem for Waterville?athletic games and other events.

Lori Lemming, who performed in the handbell choir, said that the bells are a particular attraction for her.

?I absolutely love the bells,? Lemming said. ?I don?t think it?s Christmas until I hear the bells.?

Lemming said that the group has more bells than those that are currently being used, and so they are hoping to recruit more people in the future.

Jessica Lamoine is a fairly new Waterville resident and a new member of the handbell choir. Lamoine said she heard the bells when she attended the Federated Church and decided right away that the handbell choir was something she wanted to be a part of. She said she enjoyed the chance to be a part of the performance.