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THURSDAY, DECEMBER 14, 2006
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A 1950s sock hop in Calvary Assembly of God’s “Chronicles of Christmas” is complete with teeny-boppers in poodle skirts and a “cool” dude on a Harley-Davidson.
Daily photos by Emily Saunders
A 1950s sock hop in Calvary Assembly of God’s “Chronicles of Christmas” is complete with teeny-boppers in poodle skirts and a “cool” dude on a Harley-Davidson.

Now & then
Calvary Assembly production blends secular and sacred sides of Christmas

By Danielle Komis
dkomis@decaturdaily.com· 340-2447

Audiences won’t see shy, young children rocking side to side on wooden risers singing “Silent Night” at Calvary Assembly of God’s annual Christmas production.

Instead, they’ll see a freestylin’ Frosty the Snowman, angels flying from the rafters, and live camels, goats and horses walking through the sanctuary.

“The Chronicles of Christmas Now and Then,” presented by Calvary Assembly of God in Decatur, is an in-your-face, fun-filled production packed with spectacular choreographed dances, popular music, and special effects sure to keep the attention of both children and adults. Tickets are free and available to everyone.

The entire production is put on by Calvary church members who not only take to the stage, but also work on the sound system, lights, and makeup and costumes. About 700 members of all ages came together to pull off the annual Christmas show this year.

Frosty the Snowman is the coolest snowman in Decatur. His hip-hop dance is one of the highlights of the show.
Frosty the Snowman is the coolest snowman in Decatur. His hip-hop dance is one of the highlights of the show.
The church has put on the Christmas production for nearly 15 years, but each year the theme and some of the scenes

change, said Pastor George Sawyer, whose wife Phyllis produces and directs the sprawling production.

Several churches have bought Calvary’s Christmas program DVD and patterned their Christmas pageants after Calvary’s.

“We didn’t have a template,” Sawyer said. “We just sort of developed this through the years.”

Each year, about one third of the scenes change to keep it interesting for families who come to see it year after year, he said.

Appeal to everyone

The secular portion of the program is intended to appeal to everyone, and the “then” portion is to show the Christian Christmas story non-believers may not be familiar with, Sawyer said.

“We try to touch people that are not typically churchgoers,” he said.

“People have something to relate to.”

The “now” portion of the Christmas production includes a 1950’s sockhop number in which motorcycles thunder through the sanctuary, an “Under the Tree” dance of Christmas ornaments and presents, and a “Proud to be an American” patriotic segment. All of the musical segments involve singing and dancing from members of all ages.

During the transition from the “now” Christmas to the “then” Christmas, Pastor Sawyer speaks about Jesus’ humble first appearance on earth and the importance of having a personal relationship with God.

When the curtain draws back to reveal the nativity scene, the tone immediately becomes reverent as camels and goats walk into the sanctuary along with the three wise men on horseback to present their gifts to a live baby Jesus.

Kyle Dusina, a junior at Hartselle High School, played a shepherd and danced in the Frosty the Snowman portion of the production.

‘People love it’

Practices were one to two hours on Sundays for more than a month, he said. But it is worth all the effort, he said.

“You get to know everybody,” he said. “The church just comes together.”

Plus, the audience response it great, he said. “It’s huge,” he said. “People love it.”

Brandy Wooten of Hamilton loved the program so much that she drove two hours to see it this year after seeing it for the first time last year.

“It’s just crazy,” she said of the program. “I’ve never seen anything like this.

If you go

What: “The Chronicles of Christmas Now and Then”

Where: Calvary Assembly of God, 1413 Glenn St. S.W., off Beltline Road near Publix

When: Tonight, Friday and Sunday nights at 7. Tickets are free at the door, or available online at www.christmasnowandthen.com for a $2 convenience fee. Advance seating starts one hour before each production. General admission seating is 30 minutes before showtime.

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