Dallas, TX—On October 9th, the Christmas Cantata Tour made its 10th stop in the heart of the Lone Star State, Dallas, TX. Dallas is a driving force for the American economy and a place that represents advancement. With its strong industrial and commercial properties, Dallas has traded fuel oil and engaged in natural gas production since 1927. It’s even served as a backdrop for the famous James Dean movie, “Giant.”
People began to gather at the 1560-seat Eisemann Center an hour and a half before the Cantata. The early lines figured to be because since it was a free, first-come first-serve performance, attendees were eager to get the best seats possible. So what kept them occupied while they waited? A special Christmas Cantata program launched this year.
This year, Gracias Christmas Cantata features a raffle drawing that all attendees can enter. All they have to do is enter their contact information. They slip contact forms they perforate from their brochures into bright red boxes disguised as Christmas presents. On the outside, it may seem like just a way to pass the time, but the Raffle serves a deeper purpose: the opportunity to follow up with attendees for future opportunities for fellowship.
We also have lots of volunteers from around the Dallas region, too. These are the individuals wearing bright red Christmas Cantata shirts. But, there’s ANOTHER opportunity to get one of these shirts. Before and after the Cantata performance, if attendees show that they are now following Gracias Choir on Twitter, they get a free t-shirt. We sometimes get question on whether only young people who know how to use Twitter can qualify for the gift. It is encouraging to see our volunteers help people who don’t have a Twitter account set one up and follow Gracias Choir just to claim their t-shirt. For some, it takes up to 20 minutes to make an account and follow, but the joy we see from their faces when they accomplish this makes us so thankful.
Although on our 3rd Gracias Christmas Cantata Tour, this is our very first visit to Dallas. Eisemann Hall was completely filled, each of our 1560 attendees clapped furiously when the show finally began.
Pastor Young Joo Park of Good News Gangnam Church delivers the Cantata Message, preaching, “There is a time for sentencing in the Bible. When we stand in front of God, this is how He will judge our sins. In Romans 3:24, it says ‘…and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.’ Amens and hallelujahs are heard throughout the crowd, no one leaving the hall, all sitting and listening intently to the Word.
The audience and the performers melds together as the conductor turns to the crowd and encourages everyone to sing along, of which they gladly obliged. Even though people anticipate Christmas each year and get the jitters as they count down the days, we can see true happiness on the faces of people who are now experiencing Christmas Cantata firsthand.
“My parents got an invitation letter at home, so they told me and I brought my children tonight. The last song ‘Halllelujah’ touched me. It’s actually my favorite song. And the message that we can either plant hope or despair in our hearts was interesting to hear.” Brent Stellburg
“All the music was beautiful. I wonder how much practice went into this. It was amazing to see the Gospel be portrayed so naturally on the stage with the birth of Jesus Christ in Act 1. It was really refreshing that the pastor was so honest with us, telling us that he sometimes doesn’t even like his own children. I really want to check out the post-Cantata seminar.”
Julia Van Buren
From the beginning to the end, Gracias Christmas Cantata has been such an amazing experience here in Dallas. We have so much hope that through this first performance, many people in this city will be able to hear the Gospel. We now take time to reflect on the people we’ve met in Dallas and the Gospel that is infused in the Christmas Cantata as we head northward toward the last part of our 2013 Tour. It begins in Minneapolis, MN.