- By Dillon Sherlock
- Published: December 3rd, 2013
Christmas show switches focus
Thomas Road Baptist Church, the lights are strung, the set is prepared and the vocal cords are warmed for the 44th annual Virginia Christmas Spectacular (VCS). Staff and volunteers have been tirelessly At working to make certain that this year’s event is a success.
The Virginia Christmas Spectacular is Thomas Road’s way of giving back to the community by spreading Christmas cheer to Central Virginia and beyond. The event consists of joyful singing, dancing and acting.
Beginning Wednesday, Dec. 4, thousands will flood into the worship center at Thomas Road to enjoy the work that nearly 500 people put in over the course of the year. However, the event will only run for one weekend this year, limiting the amount of options for times to see the show, according to the Virginia Christmas Spectacular website.
According to Charles Billingsley, the event’s executive producer and worship leader at Thomas Road, this year’s spectacular is going to be a new experience for all who attend.
“For the last five years or so, we have done a Broadway-type show, but this year, we are changing it up, because we backed the show off to only one weekend instead of two,” Billingsley said. “This year, the VCS is a part of a bigger picture that Thomas Road is putting on during the Christmas season.”
According to Billingsley, Thomas Road is hosting 150 service projects as part of the Christmas experience this year.
“Our philosophy has changed,” Billingsley said. “It used to be that we were just about entertaining the people of Central Virginia with the story of Christmas. We are now trying to reach Central Virginia with the message. Instead of ‘Hey, come check us out here,’ it’s ‘Hey, let’s come to you.’”
Billingsley, who has been a part of the VCS for ten years, explained some of the changes that will be seen in the 2013 production.
“This year, VCS is heavier on the music, with less emphasis on an actual storyline,” Billingsley said. “If you like Christmas music, this show is for you.”
Production for the huge Christmas show began this year in February, according to Billingsley.
“We begin talking about the show in February,” Billingsley said. “By April, we usually have a good idea about what we want to do for it. Then by June, music and a script is picked out. “We begin rehearsals in August.”
In addition to the Thomas Road staff who work to put on this event, Liberty students also give their time to make this show a success. Filling the two stage Christmas trees which have 250,000 total lights and multiple platforms that allow 250 choir singers to stand in the form of a tree, are some of Liberty’s School of Music students. Several musicians in the band and orchestra are also students at Liberty, according to Billingsley.
Students are invited to attend the show Wednesday, Dec. 4 with doors opening at 6 p.m. They will be able to see the show free of charge with a student ID. However, seating is limited, and students will be asked to sit in specified areas in the back of the auditorium or in the balcony.
General admission begins Dec. 5 and runs through Dec. 8. Tickets are $8 or $12 based on seat location.
For more information, showtimes or to buy tickets, visit virginiachristmasspectacular.com or call 888-244-2178.