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Annual Christmas concert highlights local diversity
Christmas Is One Language draws quite a crowd
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Christmas Is One Language Concert

What: Concert will feature Mexican Folkloric Ballet, La Perla Serrana Mariachi Band, The Atlanta Korean Chamber Choir, Colombian soloist Luz Piedad Lopez, St. John Baptist Church Angelic Voices and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Choir

When: 7 p.m. Sunday

Where: Gainesville First United Methodist Church, 2780 Thompson Bridge Road, Gainesville

How much: Free


Each year, the Christmas Is One Language concert draws quite a crowd, between 700 and 900 people, organizers say.

That's likely to again be the case for the 7 p.m. Sunday event at the Gainesville First United Methodist Church on Thompson Bridge Road. What will be different though, is the event itself.

"This year, the concert is going to be more than a concert. It's going to be a production," said Enrique Montiel, chairman and founder of the Gainesville Multicultural Committee that organizes the concert. "It's going to be a Mexican Christmas tradition that's called posada."

The posada is a re-enactment of the biblical story of Joseph and Mary traveling to Bethlehem for a census.

"They wander and they try several houses until one says ‘yes, you can stay here,' and then a party happens," said Montiel, who is from Venezuela.

The Gainesville-based Mexican Folkloric Ballet will present the posada, but many musical groups will be featured as part of the production. And as the "party happens" a piñata will come out and children in the audience can take a whack at it to release the candy inside.

The idea is to weave together different cultures and traditions found in the Hall County community into one production.

"It gives us an opportunity to highlight those cultures in a very positive way" said LeTrell Simpson, also of the Gainesville Multicultural Committee.

Choosing performers can be difficult. Some favorites return each year, like the St. John Baptist Church Angelic Voices.

But Montiel and Simpson said they also like to bring something new and present a variety. Others performing at Sunday's concert include La Perla Serrana Mariachi Band, The Atlanta Korean Chamber Choir, Colombian soloist Luz Piedad Lopez and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Choir.

For Montiel and Simpson, the event is all about celebrating diversity.

"I think that a lot of times people don't stop to realize what we do have in this community and how it's very much a positive for our community," Simpson said.

Montiel added that he enjoys seeing the different cultures from the local community - Korean, Mexican, French and Colombian, to name a few.

"I'm always amazed we have all that in Hall County," Montiel said.

Following the event will be a potluck tasting of international foods such as Vietnamese dumplings and South American pastries, plus American foods, like barbecue and sweet potato pie.