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Hurricane First Baptist Cantata Weaves Song with Drama

The production of “I Heard the Bells” featured the acting talents of Luke Tinnel, Angie Wright, and Carly Vickers. (Photo by Betsy Allen)

The First Baptist Church of Hurricane hosted their annual Christmas cantata on Sunday, December 11. The production, titled “I Heard the Bells,” featured two showings, one in the afternoon and one in the evening.

The plot of “I Heard the Bells” revolved around a young journalist, Kacey (played by Carly Vickers), who, despite her dislike of the Christmas holiday, was given an assignment to write a feel-good piece for the season. In a nod to Hallmark movies, she returns to her hometown in an attempt to get into the holiday spirit. While staying with her mother, Kacey researches the history of well-known Christmas carols, such as the titular “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day,” which was written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow during the Civil War. Over the course of the play, Kacey patches up her relationship with her estranged brother, meets a potential love interest, and ultimately rediscovers God.

Carols sung by the church choir, with accompanying music by the in-house orchestra, were interspersed with scenes from the drama. The songs chosen for the cantata often tied in to the story of the journalist researching Christmas carols, and featured such classics as “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” and the traditional Irish “Wexford Carol.”

The production featured a large cast of actors, singers, and instrumentalists. The cast included Carly Vickers, Luke Tinnel, Toney Stroud, Angie Wright, and Seth Skiles. Musical accompaniment was provided by sopranos Carol Bays, Rebecca Beaver, Mary Black, Leah Bowes, Mary Ann Brown, Jordan Browning, Pat Browning, Tonya Browning, Amy Chapman, Cheryl Halstead, Judy Hodges, Faye Hollinger, Joyce Lincoln, Carla McKown, Kelly Miller, and Billie Sutherland; altos Cathy Bennett, Julia Cruickshank, Terry Cunningham, Shirley Dillard, Sherry Hayes, Lois Jones, Martha Layman, Peggy Lockwood, Cindy Skiles-Mann, Andrea Mashayekhi, Sydney Skiles, and Sandy Sowards; tenors Alan Bays, Tim Boles, Keith Drake, Jason Krantz, Elijah Schultz, and Jesse Sowards; and basses Matt Angle, Nathan Arnold, Daniel Beaver, Jerry Beaver, Don Browning, Don Chapman, Bill Halstead, Tom Hollinger, Scott Mann, Jonah Skiles, and Seth Skiles. Instrumentalists included Terri Harrison, Belinda Vance, Ben Wilson, Jamie Atkins, Diana Daniels, Amy Ashworth, Connie Dawson, Brian Lauck, Andre Miller, Jill Gilbert, Amy Harrison, Sarah Pitts, and Rick Lloyd. The production was directed by Beth Davenport, Belinda Vance, and Ginny Hart, with technical help from Ashley Bailey, Jacob Miller, and Eli Miller.

The choir of First Baptist Church performed in the cantata held last Sunday. (Photo by Betsy Allen)
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