Although it has been done for more years than anyone can remember, putting on the annual Christmas Pageant at Christ the King Lutheran Church in Great Falls is no easy task.
"It's a lot of work," said Karen Magley, co-director of the Kings Chimers in this year's performance. "It's hundreds of hours of work by dozens of people."
Magley has served as the director of the pageant in the past, and knows just how laborious it can be to put on what is essentially a mini-musical.
"It is an unbelievable amount of work, but when I see the joy that it brings to people and to members of the church, it's worth it," said Magley. "The children are exceedingly talented, and when I was a director I always said that my job was to be the believer – believing in the children and believing that it can all happen, that is the main job of the director."
There are three components to the pageant – the Cherub Group, which is made up of pre-school-2nd grade students, the King's Chimers and the 3rd-6th grade group that puts on the more staged part of the pageant. This year, the Cherubs will be performing "Let's Dress Up for Christmas" and the 3rd-6th grade group will be performing "The Bethlehem Project."
Jane Cooper, Associate Director of Music at the church, says that she has tried to include as many people as possible in the production of the pageant.
"It's like producing a musical," said Cooper. "You need lights, you need props, you need everything."
"It's lots of fun – I like to act," said Emilie Mills, 11, who plays the leader of the shepherds in this year's performance.
Sophia Apostolou, also 11, will be a shepherd in this year's pageant says she enjoys being in the pageant because "it's fun and at the same time you can also learn about Jesus."
11-year-old Kyle Babirak, says he has been in the Christmas Pageant "ever since I can remember."
"I like everything about it," said Babirak. "I like singing songs, memorizing lines, acting – I like everything."
Reverand Paul Gysan has been with Christ the King Lutheran Redeemer Church for 12 years, and says that the annual pageant is significant because of the values it teaches to the children involved.
"It's the reliving of the story which gives hope to the world," said Gysan. "In the midst of this homelessness, fears, hopelessness, we relive the story of hope and of peace and of homes for all, and the youth in doing this get caught up in the story."
Antonia Siebert is directing this year's production, and says she has learned quite a bit as a first-time director.
"It's been challenging," said Siebert. "I've been in many musical productions, mostly while I was in college, but this is the first time that I've been on the other side, and I now have a new appreciation for all directors who ever directed me in a show… it's been stressful but fun."
THE ANNUAL CHRISTMAS PAGEANT will be held at Christ the King Lutheran Church, located at 10550 Georgetown Pike, on Sunday, Dec. 11 at 4:00 p.m. The public is welcome to attend.