First Congregational Church is blessed with many talented members who make these annual musical services possible. They are much anticipated and not to be missed!
ANNUAL CHRISTMAS MYSTERY PAGEANT:
Annual Mystery Tradition
The 105th Annual Mystery
Sunday, December 18, 2016 at 4 pm.
The Christmas Mystery began in 1912 with a script written by Mrs. William Watson Ranney (the then minister’s wife). It was directed for twenty years by Mrs. W.R. Armstrong, Sr., and has been shepherded in most recent memory by Gratia Belle Blackman Haney and Virginia Manella. Our Christmas Mystery takes its name from the mystery plays or dramas of western Europe
which began in the early 10th century and flourished well into the 1400s. Our musical-drama is a Christmas Pageant combining the Biblical accounts of the birth of Jesus along with church legends and beloved Christmas carols. It is performed each Advent season on the Sunday before Christmas. One unknown in The Mystery is “Who will be Mary and Joseph?” We have a lovely tradition of secrecy surrounding these two people each year–the Mystery Members tapping persons in our faith community who have contributed outstanding service.
The ceramic figure of the “Bambino” (Christ Child) and the censer carried by a Wise Man were acquired in Italy by Dr. Alfred A. Blackman’s Family around 1900 and lent to the church for use in the play. The cruse for myrrh is like those from Biblical times. In the drama the Angel Choir is composed of high school and college-age women, and the Seraph’s (lead angel’s) part is sung by one of the church’s excellent female vocalists. The Shepherds’ roles are taken by male singers of the church and the Wise Men’s solo parts carried by baritone voices. During the pageant, cherub-children of the congregation come forward and present a gift of song before the manger. The Mystery begins with a concert of music performed on the 1889 Hook and Hastings organ. The Mystery concludes with the recessional hymn “As With Gladness, Men of Old” and the Benediction.
Check out photos from the 100th Anniversary of the Christmas Mystery December 2011:
Lords and Ladies of First Congregational UCC, hearken to this good news! Long an FCUCC tradition, the Madrigal Dinner combines song, pageantry, drama, and more than just a little good-natured humor to celebrate the season of our Savior’s birth in true 16th century style. The Founders’ Room is transformed to the Feasting Hall, and our young people to pages, serving knaves and wenches. Royalty, commoners, troubadours, arranged marriages, arranged non-marriages, beautiful choral works, the clash of cultures (really, the cultured and less-cultured) and just a whiff of scandal …it’s all at this year’s Madrigal Dinner.
Banquet guests assemble in the Sanctuary for musical entertainment and formal introductions of the Royal Court. They are then escorted to reserved seats in the Feasting Hall for a wonderful meal created by our own Patti White and her splendid assistants, and the kind of entertainment that only our Madrigal players can provide. The evening concludes with a lovely choir concert and the candlelight singing by all of Silent Night.
Huzzah!! The next Madrigal will take place in December, 2017.
GOSPEL MUSIC SUNDAY:
In January 2009, FCC assembled a chorus from within our congregation and beyond our local church to worship God in our house of praise. Gospel Music Sunday has become an annual event for members and friends of FCC.
On June 15, 2014, Neil Brown led 37 FCC members and friends in what has become a fun and energetic group of singers! We had John Redmon on piano, and Dominique Robbins playing percussion.
Click on the following links to hear the music performed that day, and check out the photo gallery under News and Events.
Music performed on June 15, 2014: