October 4, 2012
New Orleans, LA—The 2012 Gracias Choir Christmas Cantata officially concluded the 1sthalf of its 10-city tour along the East Coast U.S. last night with a rousing 4-act performance from the Gracias Choir. Held at the University of New Orleans’ Lakefront Arena, approximately 2000 people were in attendance.
The grassroots promotion for the New Orleans Christmas Cantata was inspired by the words in Esther 8:14, “…being hastened and pressed on by the King’s commandment.” Dozens of Good News Corps members, church ministers, and first-time volunteers took it upon themselves to handwrite thousands of “Dear Neighbor” letters to distribute around town.
This strategy showed the commitment of IYF and Gracias Choir to instill hope through music in the people of New Orleans, who are no strangers to tough and trying times. The “Dear Neighbor” letters help create a newfound sense of community and the 2000-person turnout was clearly a testament to that.
Foot blisters and aching knees and all, Christmas Cantata volunteers were tireless in their pursuit to get the word out. 2 core teams assembled each night and visited area schools and churches with fliers, letters, tickets, and more. Those who encountered our volunteers were touched and expressed their gratitude for the effort.
One neighboring Spanish church offered their own congregation as volunteers for performance night. These individuals eventually served as ushers, greeters, and booth managers. The head pastor was so enthused about the prospects of Christmas Cantata he booked IYF airtime at a local radio station to promote the event. Cantata representatives were given 1 full hour to deliver their testimonies from the field, speak about the meaning of the Tour, provide key event information, and officially invite the citizens of New Orleans to participate.
Obviously energized by the audience, Gracias Choir delivered their most memorable Cantata performance in recent history. After, a Gracias Choir member told us, “It seems like we’re doing the same performance again and again, but what makes them all different is the heart of the audience. And it’s different from city to city. It was an amazing night.”
Pastor Joseph Park took to the stage after the encores and preached a fiery sermon about repentance, faith, and the message they should be taking away from the Christmas Cantata. Pastor Park brought comfort and hope through the Word of God. Those who remained for the Cantata message were all ears to the Word and were visibly uplifted by what they heard.
As we track the Christmas Cantata Tour this year, the momentum is undeniably building from stage to stage. Almost 7200 people have attended Cantata performances this year alone, and with 4 stops left, everyone is eager to see how God will work to deliver His gospel to America through the Gracias Choir.
The Christmas Cantata grand finale will be held at the Masonic of Detroit on October 10.
More to come on the 2nd half of the 2012 Gracias Choir Christmas Cantata Tour soon. Next stop: Bemidji, Minnesota.