Tuesday, November 29, 2005

A Carol at the Heart of Every Christmas

Come this Dec 25th I will be singing in a small choir for Christmas.

It's been quite a while since I participated in a Christmas presentation and It sort of brings back some good memories of my previous participation.

New church

This year it's no more Penang Christian Centre but Revival Centre Kuala Lumpur. Gone are the days when, as a youth, Christmas and Easter were the busiest time of the year. Back then the celebrations were handled by the then youth pastor Pastor Felix Chuah. So, it's hardly surprising that the moving force behind each celebration(besides the spiritual aspect) were the youth and young adults, some taking up multiple responsibilities and roles. Gradually the celebrations began to include the participation of children and adults because the young adults complained that it was too heavy to carry a youth pretending he/she was a baby the church was looking at giving everyone to be involved in the ministry.

Coming back from Sydney, I helped out in one Easter programme "A.D. 33"(which was the first time the church did a fully fledged comedy) before I went to work in the Klang Valley. It would be another 2 years before I helped in another Easter show, this time playing the part I enjoyed most- Satan. I'd played God, a roman soldier, a disciple, and a detective before; so, taking a devilish role is the one I'd been yearning for. Basically I just play myself anyway.

I've helped in a couple more since then but this year it's gonna a new experience with a new church. It's not a big scale thing like PCC does on a regular basis but it's still a meaningful celebration. In God's eyes, what matters is the heart.

No Oscar, no MJ

I'm so used to doing drama and dancing with PCC. My first role was playing God the Father in a 1990 Christmas production "A Tale Of Two Kingdoms" and first dance was playing the banners in 1991 PCC's 10th anniversary celebration(so the banners danced on my behalf, okay?)

Among the most challenging responsibilities I have even entrusted with was the choreographer/dancer for the 1996 Christmas hip-hop dance "Who's in da house" and the director/co-writer for the 2003 Easter drama "The Contract"(the programme was postponed due to the SARS outbreak and later we had it as our in house anniversary celebration instead). It was definitely the more stressful projectss to undertake. As a performer, you just have to make yourself present during the practice and do whatever you're asked to do. As a choreographer/director/writer, the work starts months before the actors/dancers were notified of the presentation. Thanks to the assistance and suggestions of the people around me, we were able to get the work done. The hip hop number was quite funky and we look quite cool, sort of made the hard work worthwhile.

I particularly appreciated the suggestion of Pastor Lydia that we did a parody of her hubby Rev. Isaac in "The Contract". We had a fruitcake playing Pastor Charlie Chan in the drama, with fake moustache, wearing white shirt with a red tie- the usual thing the reverand wears on Sundays. Credit must be given to the fruitcake for doing one heck of a good job poking fun of the senior pastor- he even studied the manner the senior pastor moved around the pulpit area. It'll be nice if SOMEONE*hint-hint* can send me the pictures of the parody and the senior pastor...

This year Revival Centre is doing a musical and my role is that of a choir singer. The first and last time I did choir was in 1997 in Sydney, celebrating Sydney Christian Life Centre's anniversary(it has sinced merged with Hills Christian Life Centre and renamed Hillsong Church). Then we were only presenting one song "Hallelujah Chorus" but it was really fun and challenging. This time, however, we have 6 songs to work with. The songs may not be as hard as the Hallelujah Chorus but it's gonna stretch our vocal chords singing for about 30 minutes. Another challenge is that I've been abusing my vocal chords a lot since I started teaching at the gyms- I lose my voice on a regular basis, esp. when the mics aren't working.

Well, just have to keep reminding myself not to shout that much...

Singing with GF

It's kinda of funny that this is the first time I'm participating in a presentation with my gf. Funny, as in I have never participated in a Christmas/Easter/whatever programmes with any of my exes. So this should be a good trend to start with her. Last Sunday we even practiced at her place because I needed a piano's help in some parts. Hope to get more opportunities to do this with her in future.

On another note, I've been slotted to play drums on 18 Dec- my first touch since I moved here in January. It will be both exciting and unnerving... rusty hands haven't hit a drum set for so long already leh!

All in all, it will be a very eventful December!!!