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Music to put you in the Christmas spirit

It may not look a whole lot like Christmas outside, but step into Koinonia Christian Fellowship and it’s a different story: the Bloomingdale church and academy is gearing up for its third annual Christmas in Concert.
“It is going to be a great night of Christmas music – the best of Christmas music. There will be traditional, classical, big band, jazz and acoustic, with a variety and a mix of everything,” said Koinonia’s Heidi Fleming of the music, singing and dancing in store this weekend.

There are four performances scheduled, starting Friday night when the church hosts its second annual dessert café allowing 240 paid guests to enjoy gourmet cakes and desserts before the evening performance. The Friday show has been sold out for weeks.

ALL THE BRASS Larissa Beney (left) on the flute and Joanna Cyr on the saxophone perform during the Koinonia Christmas in Concert rehearsal.

Saturday offers two free performances, a matinee starting at 3:30 p.m. and the evening show starting at 7 p.m. All seats are available on a first-come, first-served basis, with doors opening a half-hour before show times Sunday’s show is the final performance starting at 3:30 p.m.
The show is close to 90 minutes in length including a 20-minute intermission. The church can seat close to 800 audience members with plans to fill every performance including the Sunday matinee, which is the most popular show.
“There will be a lot of Christmas carols performed by soloists, ensembles, trios, and the whole group including the band and our 100-voice choir, which is really a big feature,” said Fleming. “There are also a few dance numbers including a jazz/ragtime dance.”

Anyone attending should expect to hear classic carols like O Holy Night and God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, Go Tell it on the Mountain, Silver Bells, and Joy to the World.

The first song of the night will be My Favorite Time of Year by Josh Snethlage and backed by the concert choir, a fun Christmas song to get the audience in the mood and sets the tone for the entire show, which is all about the Christmas spirit.
Music director Steve Warner and choir conductor Karen Thorne have worked tirelessly with producer and director Kathryn Hofer to create a seamless performance for guests to enjoy, said Fleming.
Hofer wears a lot of hats in this production, as she performs in a Jingle Bell Rag dance number while the concert choir sings partway through the first set.
The church has been preparing for the concert over the last few months, gathering songs and preparing the numbers with rehearsals beginning last month.

“It is not promoted as a church service event; it is a concert of great Christmas music that anyone can enjoy no matter their background. We call it our Christmas card to the community and hope people just come in and enjoy the show,” said Fleming, who is involved in the production singing in both the choir and in a trio performing the classic, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas just before the finale of Sing Noel, Sing Hallelujah, the church’s traditional choir coral piece to close the show.

“There are a lot of highs and lows to the show but the beat stays constant and the audience is taken on a little journey,” said Fleming. “It is great for the whole family.”
The Koinonia Christian Fellowship presentation of Christmas in Concert runs Dec. 17 (3:30 and 7 p.m.) and Dec. 18 (3:30 p.m.) at 850 Sawmill Rd. in Bloomingdale. There is no cost to attend. For more information, call 519-744-7447 or go online at www.ChristmasInConcert.com.

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