Christmas excitement is stirring around the campus of Liberty University as students contribute their time and talents in presenting the 2009 Virginia Christmas Spectacular, an annual Broadway-style production presented by the Worship Ministry of Thomas Road Baptist Church. Tonight kicks off the first of eight public performances.
“Liberty University students are a much valued and big part of The Virginia Christmas Spectacular each year,” said Lorie Marsh, the show’s director. “We have students involved in every aspect of the production, including acting, singing, dancing, costuming, backstage, decorating, props, and, this year, as band members and multi-media.”
In its 39th year, the Virginia Christmas Spectacular is expected to draw more than 40,000. This year’s theme is “Jingle in the City, a 1940’s Christmas in New York,” featuring a 37-foot “living Christmas tree” and more than 130,000 lights, a live orchestra and more than 300 cast members.
In addition to attending classes, completing projects and preparing for final exams, more than 100 Liberty students have volunteered their time for this year’s production, with a fast-paced schedule of practices that started in September.
“We understand that it is a difficult time of the semester for them to be involved and we appreciate the huge time commitment that is required, but somehow they make it happen, and for that we are grateful because they add so much to every aspect of the show,” Marsh said.
Liberty University faculty and staff have also committed their time and talents, including Marsh’s husband, Don, a professor at Liberty’s Center for Worship. Don Marsh, a well-known composer and Emmy Award winner, is the lead arranger for this year’s show.
Through participating in the show, students are able to serve with a local church, while the church benefits from the many talents of nearby college students.
Denise Thomas, stage manager and lead script writer, said students have the opportunity to work with and learn from many talented professionals and volunteers from the Lynchburg area.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity for both fun and ministry as the students participate in one of Virginia’s largest holiday traditions,” she said.