Disclaimer: All of the images in this post have been blatantly ripped off from Andrew Musick - father of an outstanding singer and all around great guy. Sue me.
Saturday, December 14, 4pm at Centenary United Methodist Church there will be a Christmas pageant with very awesome youth and children. And I freely admit that I am biased. Some people will doubt this statement...but I love all these kids. And this show is great fun - written, directed, produced by my talented sister Denise Bryson. Denise has been writing Christmas plays since I was about 7. The only difference is that now she has more than my brother Gordon, sister Susan and I to play the parts! (I think I was usually the angel in our family plays...yeah...I'm sure of it!)
The pageant this year will include a youth bell choir directed by Mari White Smallshaw. (Yes, THE Mari White Smallshaw. Of radio fame. I'm one degree from cool local personality, too.) I was very flattered when Mari invite me to step in as a youth. Okay, filling in for an absent youth. You can see me at the right there - I'm the one trying to count to 4. Thanks Andrew. Great picture. Sigh. But the youth are great!! I love the sound of hand bells. (which reminds me...the Bells of the Blue Ridge are performing next week. Check out their website. And maybe I can get a post in about that too!).
After the two numbers from the youth bell choir - the children (young people? tots to tweens? no?) will perform two songs under the direction of Centenary's highly skilled director of music Danny Moore. Last year he wrote all of the songs in our musical extravaganza - this year he contributes two songs to the "main event" - the play (with music!) Centenary Card Shop: After Hours.
Between the choral performance and the play - we will have the extreme pleasure of hearing Mr. Kane Campbell perform Silver Bells. Accompanied by Johnson Scott (aka Professor F. Johnson Scott, III faculty at Lynchburg College. Yes, THE Johnson Scott. I am one degree from musically talented). Kane is part of the triple-threat Campbell Crew. The family has Kane, Cooper and Callen - they are cut straight out of a catalog. Gorgeous mom and dad with three sweet children. During the Card Shop Cooper sings a song as an elf figurine brought to life - he's so darn cute that his little sister couldn't stop hugging him while he was singing tonight. Nearly knocked him over - but Cooper kept on belting out his song. They are my favorite.
But I can't overlook the quartet of talents in the Smallshaw family. (once again parented by two of the most wonderful - and gorgeous - people that I know) Wes is the lead in the play - deftly keeping the Cards in the Shop in order. Rick not only performs with his violin - he also co-produced the show with Denise! At this very minute he is making last minute tweaks to the order of the show - just like Broadway! Charlie isn't just playing a card...he's also playing bells!! And looks a lot more confident doing it that me! And all I can say with spoiling the fun - Jimmy Smallshaw will steal the show. I love those kids. They are my favorite.
I can't show partiality to my niece Taylor and nephew Braeden - wouldn't be fair. But the little blonde chick and her twin brother will make your heart melt (like these kittens...) Have to love them. They take after me. They are my favorite.
And I have loved the Layne family since before Ella was even born. Betsy and Allen are the kind of folks that you want to sit around a campfire with and tell stories until the moon rises high in the sky. They are good people that come from good people. And they have raised the kindest young lady - Gabriella and the coolest young man - Turner. I think they will also be the kind of folks that you want to sit around a campfire with. They are cards. They are great. They are my favorite.
Wait...I can't forget the raven haired Jasmine and the impish Bree. They have voices like angels (which turns out to be very appropriate for one of them) and they are brave enough to get up there and sing solos! I am very inspired by both of them. They are always smiling. They are patient with little girls who adore them and want to be next to them all the time. I love them. They are my favorite.
Ah. Jennifer Coffer. I will resist digging out the picture of her singing when she was about 7. She is amazing. She has this superior voice. One of those people who has this mighty power behind her voice. I had to tell her tonight that she didn't need to crowd the microphone. Like, "could you stand about 5 feet back from it?" She is also goofy. She volunteers for JIFF. She comes from a fun family. They are my favorite.
A few of our performers couldn't be at practice tonight. But they are cool They'll be fine. They are old pros at this play-thing. And Denise has a way of putting everyone at ease. She reminded them tonight:
"Who is coming to this show?"
Kids: our families
"And the congregation...and people who love you...it doesn't matter WHAT happens! They are going to love you anyway!"
And she is right. Our audience WILL love it! And I feel more Christmasy already! I hope you all come to the show. And if it isn't our show that you make it to... Make it to Christmas show some place. See the joy in a young face belting out a song (no matter what key) and watch the shiver of joy and the lit-up face when they hear their family and friends clap and cheer. It's my favorite.