By Danielle McCarthy
The Central Texas Master Singers will finish its annual lineup of Christmas concerts on Monday, Dec. 12, in Georgetown after kicking off the series in Belton last week. The nonprofit performance group, accompanied by a live chamber orchestra, drew a large crowd to First Baptist Church in Belton Thursday evening.
Families settled into the church pews to enjoy seasonal favorites, such as “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel,” “Joy to the World,” and “Do You Hear What I Hear.” Many people said it was their first time seeing a Master Singers show.
“I thought it went really well,” said tenor section leader Scott Tolar. “We had a great group of people who were in the audience and the feeling of bringing in the holidays was really present, based on the reactions of the people who were in the congregation.”
Conductor Steven Kirkpatrick said he thought the performance was extraordinary.
“We are in a position to bring to light the reality of Christmas – that being the birth of the messiah,” Kirkpatrick said. “It takes on a responsibility to engage the audience with a clear communication of, ‘This is an experience. It’s a musical, worshipful experience such that the holy spirit feels invited to be present.”
“There was a clear message given last night – the hope of Christ and Christmas,” added Kathy Pershall, pianist for the Master Singers.
In addition to performing the usual Christmas favorites, Kirkpatrick said the inclusion of a lesser-known song named “Shine” really made this year’s Christmas concert special for the Master Singers. The song was written by Paul Stephens, a high school classmate of group member Scott Tolar’s, and had not been publicly performed by the Master Singers until Thursday’s concert in Belton.
“The song spoke to us in such a way because it’s a prayer,” Tolar said, who was also the soloist for the song. “It’s a prayer about, ‘Lord, let my life be something and let it be something for you.’”
Lead soprano Ashley Bray said she was impressed by the variety of music included in this year’s Christmas concert and said the choir did a great job.
The group continued its concert series on Monday evening at Pershing Park Baptist Church in Killeen. The third and final Christmas concert for the group will start at 7:30 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church in Georgetown on Monday, Dec. 12. Tickets are $20 in advance or $25 at the door. Visit www.centraltexasmastersingers.com for more information.