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Wesleyan church presents "Operation Christmas Child," a Christmas musical

CADYVILLE The Cadyville Wesleyan Churchs 6th annual Christmas musical was performed for the first time this year Dec. 15. The play was inspirational, informative, entertaining and amusing. For a small town church, there was an exceptional amount of acting and musical talent. The play was directed by Cadyvilles Valarie Drown, who has expertly directed all six of the churchs musicals. Surprisingly, she has had no formal musical instruction, though she has always been surrounded by music. I grew up in a musical family, explained Ms. Drown, who also grew up attending Cadyville Wesleyan Church. Her extended family frequently gathered together. When they did, her grandmother, Marion Morgan, would sit down at the organ and start to play hymns, and the whole family would start singing. I found a niche. I just love it, Ms. Drown said of her musical directing. I begin listening to Christmas Canada in July and we begin practicing in September, the same week school starts. This year, Ms. Drown wanted a musical that was more mission focused, so she was pleased when she came across Operation Christmas Child, a play that promotes the shoe box ministry of the Christian relief organization Samaritans Purse. This year, more than eight million shoe boxes were collected and will be distributed to children in 90 countries who are living in difficult situations. The shoe boxes bring hope and encouragement to these poverty-stricken children who consider even the simplest things such as crayons, pencils and paper as rare treasures. The motto of Operation Christmas Child is We are blessed to bless again. In the United States, we are a very blessed nation and we need to remember to bless other people, Ms. Drown said with conviction. The plays setting was Fort Faithful, where the cast, posing as Unit 12-25, was dressed in military fatigues, and had to spend Christmas away from their families. They embarked on a special mission called Operation Christmas Child. The operation involved discovering who that Christmas Child was, the contents of all the brightly wrapped boxes, and to whom the boxes were to be distributed. The play was written by Kathie Hill, a successful childrens writer with many credits to her name. The story line was simultaneously touching and humorous. The musical emphasized the gift of Jesus birth, the underlying motive we should have for giving unselfishly to others. Songs such as Christmas Started with a Present, First John 3:16, and Simple Things, brought the importance of meeting the needs of others to the forefront. The zany cast of characters, including Colonel Sanders, Private Eye, Private Elvis Presby and Private Gomer Smyle, dressed in his Jesus is Lord overalls, added comedic relief. The cast members were Christine Allen, Andy Allison, Bill Badger, Michael Bell, Catie Bova, Johnny Downey, Katie Downey, Nicholas Drown, Emma Drown, Marie Hilpl, Rebekah Hilpl, Ruth Ann Jabaut, Misty Kirby, Abigail LaBounty, Bill Long, Shelby Lottie, Rachel Rock, Maxine Rock, Cheryl Turcotte, Jordan Wright, Jarett Wright and Michele Wright. Valarie Drown took the time to thank the many hands who helped behind the scenes to make the play a success, especially her two assistant directors, Robin Downey and Michele Wright. The play was also slated for a second performance Dec. 16, but that performance was rescheduled due to the snow storm. The second performance is now scheduled to take place at Cadyville Wesleyan Church this Sunday, Dec. 23, at 6 p.m.

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