The MPB Community Players will travel to five local churches this year to present their Christmas show to the people of the Hazleton Area. The eighth annual holiday pageant, called “Our Christmas Gift,” will be presented three times during the weekend of December 6, and twice the following weekend. The show features an ensemble of 20 performing joyful and triumphant music of the season.
The Players’ production is free, but good will donations will be collected, with proceeds benefiting the venues. The first show will take place this Friday, December 6 at 7:00 p.m. at St. John Bosco Church, Sugarloaf. On Sunday, December 8, the pageant will be performed twice; first at Sts. Cyril & Methodius Parish (St. Joseph’s Church), Laurel St., Hazleton, starting at 2pm; and then at Most Precious Blood Church, 4th & Seybert Sts., Hazleton, beginning at 7:00 p.m. Next Sunday, December 15, the Players will perform at Holy Annunciation Parish (St. Gabriel’s Church) beginning at 2:30 p.m. And a new venue has been added for this year. At 7:00 p.m. that evening, the group will sing at Holy Rosary Church, 240 South Poplar St., Hazleton.
“The MPB Community Players are continuing our tradition of sharing the gift of music this Christmas season,” said MPB producer Judiann McGrogan. “‘Our Christmas Gift’ is truly that; a gift to the community, and we are honored to be welcomed to perform at each of these venues this year, and look forward to bringing our spiritual and uplifting music to all.” McGrogan added that the Players are happy to donate any proceeds from their performances to the churches. “Our gift is the amount we collect, which we donate to the church communities for welcoming us. We hope that the parishioners of each of these places of worship will join us at their home church, or at another venue.”
Most Precious Blood Church serves as the Players’ home base and rehearsal area, and the group has performed their Christmas program there every year since its inception. The Players’ planning committee worked with each of the other four churches to arrange for the group’s return in 2019. “The pastors of each of these churches have been so kind in allowing us to share our music with their parishioners and with the community,” McGrogan said.
“Our Christmas Gift” will celebrate the ‘Reason for the Season,’ with music rejoicing in the birth of the Savior, Jesus Christ. This year’s program will include choral versions of the classic carols “Do You Hear What I Hear,” “Angels We Have Heard on High” and a composite called “Canon of the Bells.” There will also be the modern spiritual “Light of the Stable,”
seasonal songs “I’ll Be Home for Christmas”, “It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” and “Various Themes on Fa La La.” The concert will end with a Christmas carol sing-along. McGrogan said the group hopes to share their message with as many as possible. “If you can’t make it to one performance, there are other options. And each of these beautiful churches will make for an amazing background for the seasonal music.”
Helene Seamon is vocal director, and Cammie O’Donnell is accompanist. Matt Seamon is assistant vocal director and Barbara Vilushis served as rehearsal accompanist and music coordinator. Planning committee members for this year’s show also include Emily Betterly, Howie Betterly, Stephanie Betterly, Thomas Betterly, Karen Flannery, Sabrina Krupko, Lauren Seamon, and Courtney Tarselli.
Because admission is free, advanced tickets are not available. Seating at each venue is first come, first served. For additional information, call (570) 459-5076 or email email@example.com.
(Information from Judiann McGrogan)