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Singing in the season
Wesley Oak UMC presents <i>The Christmas Storybook</i>

You won’t find the usual characters in The Christmas Storybook -- at least, not at first.

Instead, you’ll find a talking storybook, an angel, a star and a swaddling cloth. The musical production was written by the Rev. Lynn Drake, and will be presented at her church, Wesley Oak United Methodist Church in Thunderbolt Nov. 29 through Dec. 2.

. “It grew out of a children’s Sunday school class when I was associated with Asbury United Methodist Church,” Drake says. “I have a musical background, and I wrote songs about different characters in the Christmas story.

“It was very small, and we did it in a worship service many years ago,” she says. “When I was appointed here, there were some very talented people here. I wanted to do something to showcase their talent, so I enlarged that earlier story.”

Church members are performing the roles and designing and making sets, costumes and lighting. “We’ re trying to get the word out that we’re doing this,” Drake says. “It’s part of our mission. All proceeds will go to mission work.”

The production is for audience members of all ages, young and the young-at-heart. “It lasts an hour and 15 minutes,” Drake says, so it won’t tax a young child’s patience.

When the story opens, the book, star and swaddling cloth are stored in a church’s attic. Ladies from the church’s altar guild are beginning to set out Christmas decorations.

“One has been in the attic, and it was a mess,” Drake says. “They don’t want to put out the Christmas decorations.

“They sing a song, ‘Who’s going to notice if we take a year off?’ They make one more trip to the attic. In the process, they hear noises and get scared.”

The ladies also awaken the sleeping storybook, who at first can’t remember anything. “The star awakens the angel and the swaddling cloth,” Drake says.

“They begin helping the storybook find the story. In the meantime, the altar guild meets with the pastor about a family in need. They realize the importance of helping others and decide to set out the Christmas decorations.”

The storybook gradually begins remembering the story, which is about the true story of Christmas. “He knows why the star, angel and swaddling cloth are there, but asks, ‘Why am I here?’” Drake says.

The storybook can only remember a Bible verse, but in the end, remembers the whole story. Something good also happens to the angel, star and swaddling cloth, but we’re not about to spoil the entire story.

Suffice it to say the ladies of the altar guild return to the attic and notice the decorations. “The last phrase is, ‘We just needed a light,’” Drake says.

“The music is lively and from various musical genres,” she says. “It’s everything from boogie woogie to gospel.”

A lively sense of humor is revealed, too. At one point, the characters sing, “We are more than Styrofoam, more than glitter and gold.”

“Everyone is very excited,” Drake says. “Our music director, Les Taylor, does theater in Savannah. Some of the kids had been wanting to do a musical.

“There will be four daytime performances,” she says. “We want children to come out, as well as older people who might not want to come at night.”

A musical production, The Christmas Storybook, will be presented Nov. 29 and 30 at 7:30 p.m., Dec. 1 at 1 and 3 p.m. and Dec. 2 at 3 and 5 p.m. at Wesley Oak United Methodist Church, located at the corner of East Victory Drive and Mechanics Street in Thunderbolt. Tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for seniors and students. For reservations, call 352-0844.