Dec 8, 2009

TRBC’s “Jingle in the City”

by Emily DeFosse

Lonely orphans on the streets of New York City in the 1940s find out that they are not alone and reminded audience members that God is with them always in the 2009 Virginia Christmas Spectacular (VCS) “Jingle in the City” at Thomas Road Baptist Church (TRBC).

On Wednesday Dec. 2, Liberty students had the opportunity to see the last dress rehearsal of the show, under the direction of Lorie Marsh, for free. Students filled the TRBC auditorium to watch the show.

“It was like they had so much energy they could go another show,” seventh grade Liberty Christian Academy student, Isaac Altizer, who played the role of the orphan Harvey, said after the performance.

The idea for this year’s production began back in January when a group of writers and producers went on a retreat to discuss ideas for the show, according to Marsh.

“Charles (Billingsly) wanted to do a show in New York City, one of his favorite places,” Marsh said.

From that starting point, the theme of belonging to God eventually grew into the full production.

“Two members of the writing team had close friends who had lost spouses and they were going though some really deep and dark times,” Marsh said. “Their goal was to be able to minister to those friends and let them know that no matter what circumstances we are going though, no matter what our conditions are, we can know (that if we are believers) we belong to God.”

The loneliness of the five orphans helps audiences to really understand that if they are in Christ they are part of the family of God and are never alone.

“It doesn’t matter who you are, where you live … (if you have a) family or no family,” performer Chris Breedlove said. “To be in Christ and to understand the Christmas story and what it is all about and how it ties into every single one of us through the dancing, characters and the interaction between the orphans and Mr. and Mrs. Honeycutt … capture in the very end what the story is all about.”

The music in this production is mostly unique to TRBC. Nine out of the 17 songs in the show were written and arranged by TRBC and Liberty writers, according to Marsh.

This production has been the largest ever at TRBC. More than 300 people auditioned, and it takes just as many people to run every other aspect of the show, according to Marsh.

“Almost everyone in (this production) is a volunteer,” Marsh said. “So the challenge comes with coordinating schedules with people who aren’t being paid to do this.”

Dancer Kristen Breedlove felt the pressures of managing her time between her job, her graduate classes at Liberty and her marriage.

“The biggest thing right now is that sometimes your task can become more important than people … I realized that the people are more important than the task, and you have to keep that positive attitude going regardless,” Kristen Breedlove said.

Chancellor Jerry Fallwell Jr. was in attendance at Wednesday night’s performance and was very impressed.

“I thought it was very professional, and I think Liberty students who participated in it played a big role in the quality of the program,” Falwell said. “I think it is probably one of the best, and I’ve been to all 39 performances over the last 39 years. It gets a little better every year.”

Contact Emily DeFosse at

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