'Journey to Christmas' with Calvary Community Church

By Charlotte Huntley/ Contributor

(Published Dec. 6, 2006, 8:38 a.m.)

The Christmas season is upon us. Many homes have their outdoor Christmas lights up and lit. Christmas trees shine from living room windows. There is a flurry of activity at the stores and shops. People are busy preparing for the holiday. But how did Christmas ever start?

Calvary Community Church is presenting their annual Christmas concert on Saturday, Dec. 9 and Sunday, Dec. 10 to answer that question in the presentation of “Journey to Christmas.”

The first scene opens with young Holly reading an old English Christmas poem: “Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat.” Holly ponders the poem and wonders where exactly is Christmas coming from.

To her surprise, she is visited by Mr. B, an Englishman who offers to take Holly on a journey to actually discover Christmas origins. They start off and the first thing Holly and Mr. B hear is, “In the beginning was the Word...” Holly is amazed to find that Jesus was in existence before the world began. The Calvary Choir focuses on Jesus as savior in the a cappella rendition of the Russian song, “Salvation Is Created.”

On their journey, they meet angels and shepherds. Shepherds are Merrill Hansen and Seth Tost; shepherd boy is Wyatt Erickson. During the song “Glory Glory,” a host of angels perform, directed by choreographer Maria Dillman from Lake Geneva.

In the commotion of shepherds and angels, Mr. B gets lost and is separated from Holly, so she follows the shepherds to Bethlehem, where they find the manger scene. Baby Jesus is Grace Finet, infant daughter of Dan and Michelle Finet. Mary is played by Becky Warneke from Lake Geneva and Joseph is Brody Hess from Elkhorn. Mr. B finds Holly at the manger.

Then the wise men appear, portrayed by David McGlaughlan, Joe Willkins and Joel Pantojas Jr. “We come from far; we follow the star; how tired we are,” the wise men sigh. At that point, of course, they sing “We Three Kings.”

Holly remarks that Christmas is fun, but Mr. B points out that some people have a tough time at Christmas, indicating a mother who is writing to her soldier son in Iraq. That ushers in the somber “Grown Up Christmas List” with soloist Pam Sirkman.

Holly and Mr. B arrive at her home, and Holly sings “Make My Life a Bethlehem.”

“Journey to Christmas” is an original musical. The story line began with Julie Partridge, from Williams Bay, and Tom Hilker, minister of music at Calvary Community Church. They started formulating “Journey to Christmas” in July, tossing ideas back and forth, and Jean Graf of Elkhorn put their ideas into script form.

Gene Hoffman from Elkhorn plays the Englishman who is the storyteller, as well as one of the singers. Other singers are Marian Sorenson and Jean Marie Schroeppel.

Holly is played by two girls: Sophie Good will perform on Saturday, Dec. 9, and Maggie Sirkman will perform on Sunday, Dec. 10.

Maggie is 9 years old and in fourth grade. She attends Wileman School in Delavan. Sirkman has been in several productions of The Good Company—“State Fair,” “Peter Pan” and “Alice in Wonderland.”

“I like to read and love to sing,” she said. Hannah Montana is her favorite singer on the TV show, “Hannah Montana.”

Sophie is 12 and in seventh grade, from New Munster. Sophie describes Holly as an ordinary girl, which makes her easy to play. The hard part is portraying Holly as not knowing the true meaning of Christmas. Sophie said she herself knows the true meaning, but as Holly, she has to act like she doesn’t.

Holly’s mother is played by Jill Hanson, who is also a soloist. The solitary angel is Annie Wichman. Luke, the gospel writer, is portrayed by Glenn Graf from Elkhorn.

The drama portion of “Journey to Christmas” is directed by Curt Archer from Lake Como, who also plays the prophet Isaiah. Cate Wichman from Delavan is drama scheduler and costumer.

Songs that will be included are “Spirit of the Season,” “Let There Be Light,” “Emmanuel” medley, “Night of Alleluias,” “End of the Beginning,” “Season’s Greetings,” “Sleigh Ride,” “Love Came Down at Christmas” and “Herald Angels” medley. Included this year is Betelehemu,” an African Christmas piece. The audience is invited to sing along with several of the songs.

The orchestra is composed of hired musicians, as well as those from Calvary Community Church.

Performance dates are: Saturday, Dec. 9 at 5 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 10 at 6 p.m. There were be general seating and doors will open an hour before the performances, which are free and open to the public.

Calvary Community Church is located at the intersection of Highway 50 and Harris Road in Williams Bay. For more information, call 245-6294.

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