The idea to do a Christmas Cantata was hatched in the early summer of 2003 by pianist Leslie Lamb and choir director Flo Bailey. After getting permission from our Church leaders to proceed, we found music for a cantata called “Born is the King” in the church library. Rehearsals began in the middle of September with a choir of about thirty voices, mostly from the Edmond area.
The Cantata was performed at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints in Edmond on the Sunday before Christmas. Choir members and audience alike brought plates of their favorite Christmas treats to share afterwards. It was a fun evening, and the only complaint we heard was that the program was too short. It was only 47 minutes long!
The Cantata was only meant to be a one-time thing, but choir members were anxious to do it again the next year, and so the tradition began. This year, 2011, is the ninth year for the Cantata. Last year for the first time the Cantata concert was joined to the Nativity Display held in Oklahoma City, with a performance in Oklahoma City as well as the traditional concert in Edmond. This year will see an expansion of the Nativity/Cantata to three days of the Display and four Cantata performances..
The choir has more than doubled in size, with participants from all over the OKC metro area, and from Guthrie to Piedmont, with occasional participants as far away as Shawnee and Enid.
The program grew and evolved and has been slightly different each year. We left the prepared Cantata behind and put together one of our own. It is an hour of beautiful Christmas music: a mix of the old familiar carols with a few lesser-known songs, and a new one once in a while.
But always, it is the story of the birth of Jesus Christ told through song and the spoken word. It is a musical expression for our love for the Savior and a testimony of Him from our hearts.
Event sponsored by the Oklahoma City Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
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