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’Tis the Season to Invite the Community

Children's Chorale Singers practice for the December 2023 presentation.

For the third year, the Rockville-Tolland SDA Church has invited the local community to share in its celebration of the holidays.  It all started in 2021, when this Connecticut-based house of worship hosted an 8-week “Vegetarian Pantry Cooking School.”  Spearheaded by chef Debra Queen, this well-attended series culminated in a Thanksgiving dinner featuring delectable—yet healthy—alternatives. 

In lieu of a cooking class in December 2022, the Rockville-Tolland church presented “Emmanuel: God with Us,” a blend of music and narration focused on Christ’s first advent, rather than the pagan trappings usually associated with Christmas.  Forgotten facts about Jesus’ occupation as a carpenter/stone cutter were unveiled.  References to the “Tower of the Flock” (Micah 4:8), along with the lengths to which our Savior came to dwell with us, were explained.  All this was also expressed musically in a panoply of vocal solos, choral works, and piano, flute and stringed instruments solos and ensembles. Thanks in part to church members who invited the community as they went caroling in nearby neighborhoods, there was a full house.

The second installment of the Emmanuel concert series, titled “Emmanuel’s Doors,” was held on December 2, 2024.  Although this sequel was not preceded by a round of neighborhood caroling, there was standing room only and a full parking lot.  Congregational singing, Scripture recitation, vocal and instrumental solos, duets, and trios, all helped elucidate the significance of Jesus as our gateway to salvation. A reception featuring plant-based cuisine followed the program.

(clockwise, from top left) 1. Teens Vanessa Maitland and Isabella Lagos sang a duet in Spanish, "Hay Una Senda". 2. RTSDA choir sang "Were You There?". 3. Children's Chorale Singers performed "Infant Holy" and "What Child is This?" with hand motions.

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