There is no doubt that Risen Savior’s 2021 Community Christmas Concerts were another resounding success! The audiences totaling over 1,100 assembled to enjoy the two audience-pleasing performances in Risen Savior’s brand-new combination Performing Arts Center/Worship Center for what has become heralded as one of the area’s most popular celebrations of Christmas.
As in the past, the concerts were hosted by Master of Ceremonies, Rev. Ron Burcham, Risen Savior’s Senior Pastor, who ensured that everyone in attendance had a great time … from sharing his “personal experiences” as the recipient of some of the “trendy” gifts from Christmases past … to leading a heartwarming tribute to remind everyone of the selfless sacrifices that members of our military have made throughout decades, as they stood on duty around the world to ensure our freedom, rather than being home with their loved ones during Christmas.
In response, Bill Bade, a master organist and accomplished pianist, used the concert piano on stage to lead the audience in recalling memories of Christmases past as he accompanied them in singing a medley of “White Christmas,” “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” in tribute to our troops stationed away from home this year.
The concert opened with a dramatic performance of “The Little Drummer Boy” by ASU tenor soloist Carlos Barraza, accompanied by drummer Adam Beadle and the Risen Savior Handbell Choir. Musical highlights of the concert included a solo performance and duets by renowned trumpeter and international recording artist Tim Moke, who also collaborated with well- known Chandler trumpet soloist and member of the Chandler Symphony Orchestra, Mike Downey. The Risen Savior Worship Band accompanied soloist Ashlyn Endicott in an inspiring performance of “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear.”
Also performing during the concerts was the Risen Savior Concert Choir, under the direction of Teresa Murphy; the Handbell Choir, led by Carla Robertson; and the Risen Savior Worship Band, led by Joel Endicott, Risen Savior’s Director of Worship. Throughout the program, all the musicians took turns or joined together in accompanying the members of the audience in singing their favorite Christmas carols. A definite high point in the concert included the 50-plus voice Concert Choir performing the “Hallelujah Chorus” from W. F. Handel’s Messiah.
The concert ended with the choir leaving the stage with lighted candles to join the audiences from aisles of the darkened theater in singing “Silent Night,” followed by the choir saluting the audiences with a spirited presentation of their closing carol “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.”
The Risen Savior Community Concerts are charity events that benefit the Chandler Food Bank. Members of the audience each donate two cans of food as their admission fee. This year’s audiences donated 1,822 pounds of food. If you enjoy well-performed Christmas music and have not attended a Risen Savior Community Christmas Concert, do yourself a big favor and join in the fun next year!