Friedens Lutheran youth present Christmas fantasy
Betty Davis, director of the children’s program at Friedens Lutheran Church, Stony Run, said the youth were too young the past few years to present a full-fledged musical but as they got older she wanted to try again.
That program became a reality when “The One and Only Original Christmas Factory, a Christmas Musical Fantasy Celebrating the True Meaning of Christmas” was presented as part of the Dec. 9, 2018, church service.
Eleven youth and the senior choir were involved in the presentation.
Davis said the first kids’ program was in 1990 during Desert Storm.
The presentation was in February, so the first one was not a Christmas program.
At that time, all the participants wore yellow ribbons.
The in-house sound man is David Keller. Chester Hartranft is part of the senior choir but has held other positions over the years.
“I think the kids have way too much fun,” he said, adding the adult choir wears chefs’ aprons.
Two women had major roles.
Ms. Hathaway, a rather stuffy elderly woman, was portrayed by Deanna DeLong. Nannie O, a grandmotherly woman who carried the story forward and operated the ornament machine, was played by Darlene Berk.
The sound of whistles, which open the play, were followed by the “Factory Song.”
The door to the ornament factory was opened and Christmas trees, as played by Cyrus Kurtz and Brian Bauscher Jr. appeared. They sang “I Never Thought that the Evergreen Would be a Symbol of God’s Love.”
Ms. Hathaway described everything about Christmas as being “unique.”
The snowflakes — Elliana, Alivya and Shiphrah Kurtz — were next to enter the stage.
“Snowflakes, you are special. Surely God loves you.”
The ornament factory does not respond when Nannie O wants to bring forth another ornament so she calls upon Ms. Hathaway to help do the work manually.
The bells — Owen Kutz and Elliot Knutsen — come to help.
They say “Ring, ring the Christmas bells. They sing that Jesus Christ is our king. They want to tell of the Savior’s birth.”
The machine is fixed but the next ornament, the Christmas Angel, played by Brianna Bauscher, is shy and does not want to come out. Nannie O and the children’s choir coax her onstage.
Nannie O said she had to come because she was the angel that told of Jesus birthday.
Ms. Hathaway tells her Christmas and a birthday are different.
The Christmas present, played by Karl Lampart, then came on stage.
“Jesus birth is a time to remember,” he said.
“Gifts show how much you care.”
The choirs joined in with “Happy Birthday.”
“Don’t you think the children learn more by making ornaments themselves?” Nannie O asked.
Ms. Hathaway said the stars, played by Naomi Kurtz and Weston Knutsen, are something beautiful and symbolic teaching an important lesson.
Carols were then sung as the sheep, shepherds and kings gathered round the manger.
Mary, played by Tracy Schaeffer, Joseph, as portrayed by Allen Schaeffer and Baby Jesus, played by Otto Schaeffer have the place of honor.
However, one little sheep, Alexis, insisted on leaving the stage because she did not want to wear her woolen hat.
With her went her mother, Katrina, and brother Brock, a shepherd.
Each child received a handmade bead snowflake for doing a good job.