(Photo by Tim Jaynes, Staff)
SIKESTON -- It's not too late to add your hallelujah to the chorus.
The fifth annual Community Sing-Along will begin at 3 p.m. Dec. 23 at the Hunter Memorial First Presbyterian Church at Allen and Wakefield.
"It's a time for members of all the different churches to come together to celebrate the birth of our Savior," said Harry Howard, coordinator, director and founder of the annual event. "It's unifying ourselves; it's a big symbolic thing for me. It's a renewal of our Christian spirit."
This choir is not about ability but is simply for "those that love to sing or enjoy getting in the Christmas spirit," Howard said. "Community is the main theme."
Those interested in being a part of the community choir haven't missed a thing yet. While Howard has been working with individuals for some time now, the first full rehearsal for the choir is scheduled for 12:30-2 p.m. Saturday at the church. The second and final rehearsal for the choir will be the day before the performance from 12:30-2 p.m. Dec. 22.
Howard said he is happy to do extra rehearsing with participants or provide them with a tape of their individual parts.
"The biggest thing is making them feel comfortable," he said, adding that "we do have some trained section leaders."
Howard said the choir typically has 40-60 people who volunteer to be a part of it.
"We've had pretty much a pretty good response. It continues to grow," he said. "This is not just Sikeston -- we have people coming from New Madrid and even Charleston and East Prairie. We have a soloist coming from Dexter."
Audience participation is even encouraged during some parts of the one-
"The major part of the program, of course, would be the singing of Christmas carols with the choir leading," Howard said.
Each carol will be preceded by a history of the song read aloud by Steven Bell, Howard said. "A lot of things happened in the personal lives of these people which caused them to write the hymn."
And for those singing along from the pews, not being able to remember the words will not be a problem.
"The congregation on that day will be provided with a copy of the music to the Hallelujah Chorus so they can follow along and sing along," Howard said.
John Goodwin, pastor of the church, will be the master of ceremonies and Ed Cowan, former director of the Sikeston Senior High School band, will be the conductor. "I'm accompanying on the organ," Howard said.
A reception hosted by the Sikeston Altrusa Club will follow the performance.