When we were in the middle of sweltering summer this past August, the last thing on our minds was Christmas.
But not for the staff at Concord First Assembly. They were busy planning for the big holiday and were starting to put together their annual Christmas show.
This is the fourth year the church has put on a production of “A Christmas Carol,” and each time it seems to get bigger.
This year, they are adding some special effects, including pyrotechnics as well as some other surprises.
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Presenting this annual extravaganza was the creative idea of Jerry Skaggs, music and arts pastor at the church. In 2007, he started Intune School of the Arts, a community-based program sponsored by the church.
“Christmas is one of our most prolific seasons, and every weekend of Advent features something special at CFA. So at the beginning of 2011, I spoke to my senior pastor, Rick Ross, about an idea to do a community production of ‘A Christmas Carol’ on the CFA stage, and it has been a success ever since.”
An actor himself, Skaggs played the role of Mr. Fezziwig the past two years. This year he stayed behind the scenes, focusing on set design and staging.
Skaggs said it’s not just a First Assembly production, but rather a community event. Applications are posted online every summer, and anyone can audition for a role, he said, regardless of their age or experience.
The church’s production, however, it different from other Christmas shows in the area.
“It’s a re-imagined telling of ‘A Christmas Carol,’ the second most-influential Christmas story that affects how we celebrate the season today. Second to the Nativity story, of course,” Skaggs said.
“Every year, we hear people are blown away by the talent and aspects of this production.”
Profit from ticket sales goes into Intune School of the Arts’ community programs and equipment and the future production fund.
“Our desire is that people will be inspired, entertained and will open their hearts freely and think of others more than themselves this holiday season,” Skaggs said. “That is what Charles Dickens called the ‘Carol Philosophy.’
“Our goal is to make a tradition of celebrating Christmas through this annual production. The story might change, but this special weekend community production will continue.”