Virginia Christmas Spectacular

 The cast of Thomas Road’s Virginia Christmas Spectacular filled the sanctuary at Thomas Road Baptist Church with Christmas cheer, complete with festive costumes, dances and classic holiday songs. 

The production, which took nearly a year to prepare, opened Friday, Nov. 30, with five more performances following through Dec. 2 The audience, filled with people of all ages, took time to celebrate the holiday season. 

The show opened with a medley of classic Christmas songs sung by TRBC’s choir and accompanied by a full orchestra led by conductor Adam Lancaster. Featured dancers clad in sparkly, holiday-themed attire danced in rhythm to the music. Dancers appeared on stage a number of times in various costumes, sometimes dressed as Santa’s elves, reindeers and even as St. Nick himself. 

Featured dancer Rebekah Kolacz is a junior at Liberty University. After watching the VCS from the audience her freshman and sophomore years, Kolacz decided to audition for the show. 

“This year, I decided to audition because I’d heard so many positive things about it, and I’ve had a really great experience,” Kolacz said. “Everyone’s been very kind and encouraging.” 

Kolcaz said that performing in the show as a student proved difficult but worthwhile. 

“I think you definitely make time for the things that are important,” Kolcaz said. “It’s possible to do school and do this. I’m able to get to know a lot of people through an outlet that I enjoy, and it’s a nice thing to come to at the end of the day after classes.” 

Following the opening of the show, the dynamic of the performance shifted into a musical. The theatrical portion of the show was narrated by Don Brooks and depicted a number of characters in various situations during the holiday season. 

The theatrical montage of plot lines included both humorous and heartwarming stories that were well-received by the audience. Each of the stories portrayed various aspects of the holiday season, ranging from a friendly neighborhood Christmas light competition to the struggle some families have providing for their families during Christmastime. 

Brooks has been involved in VCS for more than three decades. Through his experience in the show, he believes the most rewarding part of his involvement has been the relationships he has made and maintained over the years. 

“It’s a bond you keep,” Brooks said. 

Brooks has watched the VCS evolve over the years and has especially noticed the improvement in production quality in the realm of dance. He appreciates the choreographers aiding in the production process to make the show flow and create audience appeal. While he understands the importance of putting on a solid production, he believes that developing good on-stage chemistry is the key to any successful performance. 

“We really believe that it’s about the journey,” Brooks said. “It’s about the group getting together and becoming an ensemble. And it’s not so much about the production, although it is … but it really is working together and getting to know each other.” 

Following the theatrical portion of the show, the TRBC choir and orchestra rejoined cast members on the stage to perform a number of other traditional Christmas carols. Among the holiday classics sung included “Angels We Have Heard on High” and “I Wonder as I Wander.” 

Before the TRBC choir re-entered for the finale of the show, TRBC Pastor Jonathan Falwell walked on stage and briefly spoke on the “why” behind Christmas. Falwell presented the story of Christ’s birth and how the child born from humble beginnings in a manger would ultimately become the sacrifice for the world on the cross. In closing, Falwell extended an invitation to anyone in the audience who wanted to respond to the message and pray to receive salvation. 

To finish the show, the TRBC choir led the audience in “Joy to the World” and the “Hallelujah Chorus.” 

Featured dancer Emily Brisson has been involved with the VCS for seven years and always enjoys performing on stage. She loves forming relationships with those on stage and creating a fun experience for members of the audience. 

“We want to bless the audience, but I really am blessed every time I’m in it,” Brisson said. 

Through her experience in VCS, Brisson has performed in many opening night shows. She explained that while there are nerves leading up to the performance, everything changes when the lights shine down and the audience comes alive. While many actors want to live in the spotlight, Brisson strives to use her role to honor God. 

“I feel like it’s a form of worship because we’re pointing people to the joy of Christmas,” Brisson said. “Every good and perfect gift is from above, and I do believe music and dance is a gift.”

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