Reigning in more than 7,400 guests last year, Oro Valley Church of the Nazarene will no doubt put on another memorable performance in its “Hope is Born” Christmas production this season.
Worship pastor and head director of the musical, Larry Vinyard, has been putting on musicals for more than 30 years and has, along with others, been planning for this performance since the beginning of the year. This is the sixteenth year the church has hosted a Christmas musical.
“Hope is Born” will include 15 Christmas musical scenes, which range from a USO military celebration to the nativity scene from the mean Grinch and jolly Santa. Vinyard says guests are drawn to the performance because of the variety, but also because of the high-quality props, choreography and singing.
“I don’t like cheesy musicals. This musical is very much a Broadway musical style – not pure Broadway but lots of action, choreography and props,” said Vinyard.
The performance includes 50 choir members who sing throughout the entire performance, 75 specialized roles, 15-20 on the tech team and 30-40 people who spent hours working on costumes, props and makeup. The hour-long production includes a scene with 10 lit up floats and lighting cues that are all automated with a sound track.
“This church just really likes doing them (Christmas productions),” said Vinyard. “Not just that, but people like them too. When we started, we had around 1,200 and last season we had a total of 7,500 people come to all the performances.”
Planning the Christmas production is no walk in the park. Vinyard and volunteer Cindy Yarter head up everything and from January to July compile music together and insert it into each scene. In July, the production plan is presented and approved and a month later the choir starts rehearsing the new songs.
On Oct. 1, the choreography is introduced and for six weeks rehearsals for each scene are run. A week before the actual Christmas production, the final two rehearsal days take place.
“Everything ends up all coming together,” said Vinyard. “This is a chance to present a message and to make it come alive. Everyone has a great time.”
Hope is Born runs on Friday, Saturday and Sunday on Dec.13-15 and 20-22. The performance is free of charge.