It’s for people who just want to celebrate the season and would enjoy sharing some music and some fellowship,” says pastor John Stetson about the Christmas Cantata event the New Paltz Church of the Nazarene will host this Sunday, December 14 at 4 p.m. It’s not connected to a service and no offering will be taken, he says. “This is not anything other than sharing with the community the joy of the season. We’re just hoping to have some fun.”
The word “cantata” comes from the Italian word “cantare,” or “to sing.” The church hasn’t had a formal choir in some time, so the Christmas Cantata at Church of the Nazarene will be sung by various members of the congregation; some 20 or so people, says Stetson. They’ve invited the public to join in, too, and that offer is still open, although with just a few days notice now it might be difficult for people to learn the words to the songs. But they’re hoping that many in the community will come to hear the singers perform the special Christmas Cantata, “Celebrate the Gift.”
Pastor Stetson says people will hear familiar songs like “The First Noel,” “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” and “Amen” along with tunes written particularly for the cantata. “It’s very pretty music, very simple,” he says. “It’s really just what the title says, to celebrate the gift of Christmas.” Refreshments and time to socialize will follow the singing. There is no cost to attend.
And Pastor Stetson emphasizes that it’s purely social. “It’s really just about celebrating together and enjoying an afternoon without putting undue pressure on anyone.” The cantata runs for about 45 minutes to an hour, he says, and there will be a few additional songs performed by some SUNY New Paltz students and perhaps the very young children in the church along with a song or two for a sing along.
New Paltz Church of the Nazarene is located at 170 Route 32 North in New Paltz. For more information, call 633-8127 or visit www.newpaltznazarene.org.