The Christmas offering from the Bellevue Baptist Worship Choir, How Great Our Joy, was presented tonight at Bellevue Baptist Church in Nashville, TN. How Great Our Joy was kind of like a box of chocolates: you never knew exactly what you were going to get. A palatable and sometimes surprising mix of modern tunes and traditional carols, the songs were interspersed with readings from the Bible.
Jim Gibson, the Minister of Music, has a knack for placing a beloved carol unexpectedly in the middle of a new song, or attaching part of a newer song as a chorus to a traditional carol. For instance, the program began with a track of an instrumental version of the “Hallelujah Chorus,” and then the choir sang the ending of the “Hallelujah Chorus” as the conclusion of the 2nd song, “Lift Up Your Hands.”
Although the choir carried most of the program, the audience got to join in in five of the traditional carols. Anyone who has ever read any of my Christmas reviews, whether for CDs or programs knows that I am completely biased about my Christmas music and predisposed to like any traditional carols, and I must admit those were my favorite parts. I enjoyed the clear vocals in the solo by Lee Adams on “O Magnify,” the lovely harmonies of the ladies chorus on “Quiet Praise,” and my favorite song may have been “How Great Thou Art.” The men’s chorus had their moment in the intro of “Glory to God in the Highest.”
The two weakest songs were “A City of a King” which seemed to drag a little and the acapella song “Thus was He Born.” However, as we have already established, if it isn’t a traditional carol, I am prone to want to fast forward to get to the next carol!
Bellevue Baptist Church is a church of moderate size, but the talent of the choir is noteworthy. With its interesting mixing and blending of new and traditional songs, choir and audience participation, the Christmas program had something for everyone and was bound to instill its message of hope and joy in those who filled the sanctuary.
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