Holiday production brings message of hope

  • Wednesday, December 11, 2013

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While most people have just begun singing Christmas carols and stringing lights on trees, members of the Summerville Baptist Church have been in the Christmas spirit since September.

That’s when the cast and crew started rehearsing for the church’s annual Lowcountry Singing Christmas Tree, an event known to area residents as a Lowcountry holiday tradition.

The church will debut this year’s performance, called “The Greatest Story Ever Told,” Dec. 13 – 16, with show times at 7:30 p.m. on weekdays and 3 and 5:30 p.m. on the weekend. General admission tickets are $8 and available now at the church and online.

This year’s script, which changes every year, focuses on themes of hardship and hope.

“We really tried to change it up a bit for people who come all the time. There are some fresh new things, a little bit of a new take on it, and it’s a little more Broadway-esque,” said Katie DePoppe, the author of the script and a life-long member of Summerville Baptist.

The story focuses on a newly widowed woman who’s also about to lose her business.

“I just wanted something people could identify with,” DePoppe said. “With the current state of our economy and all those things, people can probably identify with somebody going through a time like that.”

Minister of Music Eddie Sayetta agreed the message starts off at a low point to help people realize there is hope.

“We’re bringing a program this year that will encourage people, will lift them up, even if they can’t tell what will come tomorrow,” he said.

Although the script is new every year, the production is also steeped in tradition. Sayetta said attendees can expect to hear many fan-favorite songs, as well as see familiar faces.

“Some members of the orchestra have played with us for 18 years,” he said.

One of the original founders of the Singing Christmas Tree, Jan Martin, hasn’t missed a performance in its 24 years of existence.

“When I get in that tree and start to sing it’s as much fun as the first year…. It’s well worth the work and effort and energy,” she said.

There are 75 singers in this year’s Tree, according to Sayetta, but to produce the entire show – from ushers and food vendors to crewmembers and costume designers – he estimated 350 people are involved from start to finish. Almost all of them are volunteers.

“When most people come, sometimes their first impressions are that they never imagined something like that would be possible, with the tree filled with singers and people coming in and out of places in the aisles, they think ‘Wow, I’ve been to something special’.”

And for those involved, making the performance something special is the aim.

“I just really hope that people are touched by it,” DePoppe said. “We all have a common goal, we want to give out a good Christmas message.”

For more information and to order tickets, visit www.SummervilleBaptist.org.

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