Making the Magic Happen -- Dr. Stanley Roberts
This Sunday night at 6:00, magic will happen once again--the annual production by our children’s choirs. This year the musical is “Oh Jonah” by Allen Pote. Before the 6:00 hour arrives, a small crowd will show up in the sanctuary about 3:00, take their places and to put a finishing touch on their project started right after Christmas. The artists are not professionals, the costuming garments seem somewhat familiar, the set has a nostalgic feel of having been scene (pun intended) before, the technical elements of lighting, sound, and makeup will not rival that of a Broadway show, the director will be bit harried, and the activities from 3:00-6:00 may appear more chaotic than artistic. But at 6:00, the magic will occur again.
Somehow the lines will flow (at times with some prompting), the orchestra will play (but will sound a lot like a piano), the choir will sing (hopefully all together), the characters of Jonah and the Queen of Nineveh will look like kids ready to enter middle school (they are), and the audience will hang on every word and note (they have a vested interest in the characters of this production). And, the magic will occur again.
We have seen these church music theatre productions in the past—“Elijah, Man of Fire,” “It’s Cool in the Furnace,” “Malice in the Palace,” “Table for Five Thousand,” “All We Like Sheep,” “A Technicolor Promise,” and “The Rock Slinger’s Greatest Hit,” to name but a few. The members of those casts are now in high school, college, or out in the working world with little characters of their own that would be eligible cast members of “Oh Jonah” if they were in town. Hard to believe isn’t it?
The plot of this musical tells the story of the prophet Jonah, who God asks to go and preach to the city of Nineveh. But instead of traveling with God’s blessing and direction, Jonah runs from his responsibility in his own direction. You know the story.
The magic of these productions are real, but the magic does not happen without much effort and patient work by the many who teach the music, direct the acting, costume the performers, create the set, run the sound cables, feed the cast, and work behind the scenes. Yes, the magic will occur again, but the magic is not magic. It is because of dedicated people who take their responsibility of ministry very seriously. Thank you to all! As for the casual listener, I hope you will join and experience the magic…again.