Living Christmas Tree
When: 7:30 p.m. Dec. 8 and 9, 4:30 p.m. Dec. 10, 4:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. Dec. 11
Where: First Baptist Church, 751 Green St. NW, Gainesville
Cost: Free, canned food donations accepted
More info: 770-534-7354 or fbcgainesville.org
One of the most distinctive icons of the Christmas season comes to life for the 16th year with the Living Christmas Tree concerts at First Baptist Church of Gainesville.
“It’s the highlight of the year for our choir, and I think for our church, too,” said Mark Green, First Baptist Church’s minister of music and director of the Living Christmas Tree. “We’re able to welcome so many people and celebrate the wonderful gift God has given to us through his son.”
With the theme “The Light of Grace,” the show will feature a choir of 108 singers from the congregation accompanied by a 32-piece orchestra and live Nativity. Singers will stand on a 10-tiered Christmas tree-shaped structure in the choir loft about 35 feet high.
Green said the choir will sing a mix of traditional and contemporary sacred songs, including favorites such as “Mary Did You Know?” and “Joy to the World.” Performances will end with Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus.”
The choir began rehearsals Sept. 14, memorizing songs and working to coordinate in synch with the computerized LED twinkle light display.
Green brought the production to Gainesville from his previous church, First Baptist Church of Montgomery, where he was a pianist for five years. During his time in Alabama, Green said he performed in more than 45 Living Christmas Tree shows.
The performance has become a tradition, not only for the members of First Baptist Church, but for the community as a whole, Green said.
“It’s our Christmas gift to the community,” Green said. “There’s so much to take in from a visual standpoint and an aural standpoint. Our hope is that it will usher people into the holiday spirit and bring excitement and hope and joy to their life.”
Tickets are free, but can be reserved via the church office phone 770-534-7354 or online at fbcgainesville.org. Green encouraged those interested in attending to reserve in advance because the event is so popular. About 6,500 people attended last year’s shows.
First Baptist will accept canned food donations instead of an admission price.
Performances will be at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 8 and 9, 4:30 p.m. Dec. 10, and 4:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. Dec. 11 at First Baptist Church, 751 Green St. NW, Gainesville.
For more information, call 770-534-7354 or visit fbcgainesville.org.