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'Living Christmas Tree' Turns 15

t’s a production that begins in the spring of each year and culminates in “The Living Christmas Tree,” a performance of traditional holiday music with traditional stories told in a different way.

“We have more than 100 singers and about 300 people who make this production possible each year,” said Roger McGee, the Senior Pastor in Charge at the First Baptist Church of Alexandria. “The whole church gets involved. It truly has become an event that everyone looks forward to all year.”

The church first began producing “The Living Christmas Tree” in 1987. “We’ve taken a few breaks over the years to evaluate where we wanted to go with the production and to strengthen the floor to support the scenery but since 1995, we have performed it continuously,” McGee said.

There are generally 10 scenes in each production. “We have called on the very talented writers in our own congregation to write original scripts for us, and these change each year,” McGee said.

They change after a review of what happened the year before. “We meet in the spring and have sort of an after-action session and then the writers go to work,” McGee said. “By the end of the summer, the new scripts are ready.”

Rehearsals begin in the fall. “We hold auditions, select the performers and then start rehearsing,” McGee said. He serves as the director and producer, and even sings occasionally.

This year’s performances begin on Wednesday, Dec. 8, with a dress rehearsal performed for invited guests. “We reach out to those in the community who cannot afford to come to performances where they have to pay and to those who have some type of disability. We like to make this performance fun for them and include dinner before our performance. We call it our special Friends night,” McGee said.

For the general public, however, performances begin Thursday, Dec. 9. Performances will be held on Thursday and Friday nights at 7:30 p.m.; on Saturday at 2 p.m., 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. and on Sunday at 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $5 and can be reserved online at www.firstbaptistchurchalexandria.org.