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‘Tis the season for a really big show

Members of staff at Bloomingdale’s Koinonia Christian Fellowship are pulling out all the stops, planning dance numbers, strings and bass pieces, not to mention an array of Christmas classics to be sung by their 90-voice choir in preparation for their Christmas in Concert next weekend.

Violinist Vanessia Mio, producer Kathryn Fleming, music director Steve Warner and graphic designer and media coordinator Janette Drost set up the stage for next weekend’s Christmas in Concert at the Koinonia Christian Fellowship in Bloomingdale.
Violinist Vanessia Mio, producer Kathryn Fleming, music director Steve Warner and graphic designer and media coordinator Janette Drost set up the stage for next weekend’s Christmas in Concert at the Koinonia Christian Fellowship in Bloomingdale.

More than 200 volunteers are putting in the hours this week, with rehearsals almost every night in order to give back to the Woolwich community in the best way they know how.

“We are a church that loves the arts – it is so integrated in what we do,” said the show’s producer, Kathryn Fleming. “A lot of us have had training in other parts of the community – we’ve grown up in dance studios or have taken voice lessons. Now we have our own academy so we are helping train the next generation, and for us it feels like we are giving back the way we know how.”

The show runs three times (Dec. 12 at 3:30 and 7:30 p.m. and Dec. 13 at 3:30 p.m.) and is completely free to the public with no advance tickets required.

“We call it a ‘Christmas card to the community’ because we want to put on a show  for people to tell them that we really care about them and that we want to do something for them at Christmas,” added KCF’s Janette Drost. “This isn’t about trying to make money or anything – quite the opposite actually – but we love what we do and we want to bring the arts to the community in any way that we can.”

The choir, which includes members as young as the early teens all the way to those in their 70s, also incorporates many of the organizers themselves.

“We sort of all play several roles when it comes to this show,” noted Fleming. “I sing in the choir as well as producing the show, and so does Janette. We wear a few different hats, which makes it interesting.”

And the large task of planning an event of this size began many months ago, said Fleming.

“We started listening to Christmas music in June!”

In previous years, the church has seen between 1,500 and 2,000 people come through their doors for their Christmas show; this year, organizers are hoping for an even bigger turnout for a show they describe as a mixed bag of performances.

“It feels like we are taking people on a bit of a musical journey because we have some really classic pieces as well as some original pieces, and then we are singing some traditional carols,” said Fleming.

Each performance also includes refreshments at intermission, and a parenting room is equipped with live video feed so you can continue to enjoy the show while you stay with your kids.

“The best part about it is that it’s completely free to the public,” Drost noted. “Hey, why not come enjoy a night of Christmas music?”

To find out more information about the show or the church in general, visit christmasinconcert.com or call Koinonia Christian Fellowship at 519-744-7447.

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