DeKALB – Ron Barshinger has never missed a holiday show with the Celebration Chorale in his 24 years as the organist for First United Methodist Church in DeKalb. He’s looking forward to the 25th annual holiday performance of the ensemble and other performing musicians.
Barshinger said he enjoys spreading the spirit of Christmas through music, especially with life getting busy this time of year. Between making a gift list for family and friends and checking it twice and his students at Northern Illinois University finishing up with fall semester exams, the holiday season is starting to catch up to him and he knows it’s starting to catch up to others as well, he said.
“Life is really too fast-paced,” Barshinger said. “We really have lost meaning of what Christmas is about.”
The Celebration Chorale’s holiday performance of “Noel – Night of Everlasting Love,” directed by Christine Monteiro, is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday at First United Methodist Church, 317 N. Fourth St., which is next to the public library. Refreshments will be served in the dining room of the church after the performance.
The December shows are one of two programs, including a patriotic show in the summer, that the choir performs every year.
Lindy Arnett, spokeswoman for the church, said the no-audition, interfaith choir started within the First United Methodist Church congregation. Then, members of the group began inviting friends to join the choir and it started to include more and more people from other churches in the community.
Arnett said the group shares a deep belief that Jesus Christ came to save the world and putting their faith in the powers that be is the essesnce of what’s important in life. She said the annual holiday concert is a good way to remind people of the “reason for the season” and to usher in the Advent season.
“We get wrapped up in travel and presents and decorating and need to take some time for a very pleasant experience to remember why we have this holiday,” Arnett said.
Barshinger said attendees can expect to hear a lot of familiar carols such as “Joy to the World” sung by the community singers. He said the children’s choir directed by Sally Mullis will play bells and a small orchestra will perform as well.
Admission is free for all three performances. Celebration Chorale will accept donations to help offset costs such as music and payment for some musicians, Barshinger said.
Barshinger said performing with the choir is like being with family when they get together to sing and share the same Christian values through music.
He said it’s a thrill to share that message with people, especially around the holiday season.
“If we can spread hope, joy and love even to one person, we have done our job,” Barshinger said.