One Christmas tradition that many families here in the Tennessee Valley enjoy is attending the annual performance of The Living Christmas Tree at First Baptist Church of Huntsville. The 2018 performances are scheduled from Thursday, December 13th, until Sunday, December 16th. If you have never attended (and even if you have), this is one event you will want to add to your holiday calendar.
Forget about the music for just a second. The mere sight of that tree alone is impressive enough to make your trip worthwhile. Standing 39 feet tall and 30 feet wide while weighing over 6,000 pounds it is unlike any other Christmas tree you’ll see. It has over 13,000 lights powered by 36 kilowatts of electricity. If you have kids, they need to see this tree. Then when you add the music, with the nearly 250 choir and orchestra members on stage and on the tree itself, you know you are in for an extraordinary experience.
This year’s presentation will feature a variety of different styles of music. Ranging from Irish step dancing to Big Band. World-renowned classical guitarist Rodrigo Rodriguez is flying into Huntsville from Prague to add his talents to the performance. You’ll hear some Christmas classics like O Holy Night and The Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s Messiah. 2018 marks the 200th anniversary of the writing of the most recorded Christmas carol of all time, Silent Night. Did you know that Silent Night came about in part because of a broken church organ in Austria? You will learn the origin story of that Christmas standard.
First Baptist’s Minister of Music and Worship, Billy Orton, says that one of the biggest misconceptions about The Living Christmas Tree is that it is the same show year after year. Orton says that, while there are a few songs that they feel the audience is expecting, a real effort is made to make each annual show unique. Planning for the presentation takes place year-round and the first rehearsal is held on the Wednesday after Labor Day. So, while the rest of us were still wearing shorts and grilling in the back yard, the First Baptist Church choir was eating Christmas cookies and starting to get into the spirit of the season. All those hours of hard work and practice are evident at each performance.
Tickets for the The Living Christmas Tree are free, but you must have a ticket to attend. For tickets, call 256-428-9422 or visit the church.
- Thursday, December 13, 2018, 7:30 p.m.
- Friday, December 14, 2018, 7:30 p.m.
- Saturday, December 15, 2018, 11:00 a.m. (35 min) “A Tree for the Children”
- Saturday, December 15, 2018, 4:30 p.m.
- Saturday, December 15, 2018, 7:30 p.m.
- Sunday, December 16, 2018, 3:00 p.m. (45 min) Abridged presentation with highlights from the Tree.
- Sunday, December 16, 2018, 5:30 p.m.
\First Baptist Church of Huntsville is located at 600 Governors Drive SW.