Charlotte, NC—Gracias Choir took its sparkling Christmas Cantata “gift” to Charlotte’s Halton Theater on September 30th. This was the first time the Cantata was performed in the city, IYF having just recently opened a branch here.
The 1020-seat Halton Theater, located within Centra Piedmont Community College (CPCC), played host not just to first-time attendees, but a large amount of Christmas Cantata volunteers who joined IYF to help advertise the performance and manage the event.
Holding the performance in CPCC served IYF well since it allowed volunteers to easily promote to students and recruit additional volunteers. A total of 150 CPCC students were on hand as booth managers, ushers, and promoters. IYF was also able to recruit help from people who were connected through a recent Bible Seminar held in Charlotte.
CPCC opened its cafeteria facility to IYF so volunteers could assemble “Dear Neighbor” letters and it also served as a base for street teams who took to different parts of the Charlotte community every day with 50,000 Cantata tickets in hand. Those going to door-to-door were able to make great connections with those they met, with each other, and with IYF. Some even received salvation through volunteering.
“I was recruited as Cantata volunteer about a month ago. IYF was different from other organizations I’ve met. Whoever IYF members meet, their hearts are wide open each time. Even though I haven’t been with IYF that long, I feel connected to everyone here. I’m also able to hear the Word of God after I do volunteer work, and continually discover different things about God I didn’t know before. For example, even though I sin, God has already made me righteous, so there is no need for me to ask for forgiveness. But, what I hold most dearly to my heart is the world that God has become blind to my sin.”
-Jeannie Hollins, volunteer
At show time, it was apparent how instrumental the Christmas Cantata volunteers were in packing the house to capacity. Red Christmas Cantata volunteer t-shirts were scattered throughout the hall, ushering people to their seats. Each of the 1020 available seats were taken by the time the curtain rose on Act 1.
The performance mesmerized. Tenor Taejik Woo expressed the agony, desperation, and despair of Joseph in finding a room for his wife, Mary. Woo cried out to God, “Is there no room for your Son?”
Emerging from the heart-stopping emotion of Act 1, soprano Alice Choi’s Act 2 solo “I’m Dreaming of Home” expressed earnestness, both vocally and emotionally, that knocked on the door of each audience person’s heart.
The heart-moving atmosphere created by Acts 1 and 2 was gloriously paid off by Act 3, which featured Handel’s Oratorio—Messiah, the crowing piece being “Hallelujah.” The unified voices of Gracias Choir reached each corner of Halton Theater, prompting the audience to rise from their seats in reverence to God. It was as if each person imagined that they were in heaven, listened intently to the ethereal tone of the Choir. Seeing all these people out of their seats, basking in the glory of God together with Gracias Choir will prove to be a historic moment in the Christmas Cantata Tour for years to come.
Pastor Ock Soo Park started his Cantata message by saying, “It is our happiness to have come to this city and given you all such joy through this Cantata.
Pastor went on to say, “As humans, we have fear about how we will be judged when we die. But our loving Lord has already judged you as follows: ‘All of you have sinned. Although you should face destruction, Jesus Christ has died for you and therefore, you have been righteous.’”
“The performance was truly moving. I play the trombone myself and it was amazing to hear the sound that Gracias Choir produces. And Pastor’s story about the sentence the prisoner in jail receives touched my heart. Just like the convicted murderer was given hope to live, I believe that God has justified us even though we deserve to face the same judgment.”
-T.J. Thompson, pastor & trombone player
The Gracias Christmas Cantata in Charlotte was truly moving. The performance was marked by the performers and the audience breathing together as the show progressed, and the volunteers who brought over 1000 people to Halton Theater to hear the Gospel. The message delivered by Pastor Park blanketed the hearts of the people of Charlotte like white snow and there is no doubt that God will completely cover this city with His promise. Our hope remains strong in the God who will fulfill His divine will in America.
Next stop on the 2013 Gracias Christmas Cantata Tour—Atlanta, GA.