By Paul Hoverman
By Paul Hoverman

Now that Christmas is in full bloom before us, I thought I would share my Christmas wish list with you. Of course my Christmas list is always filled with music and merriment for the entire family. I will tick them off as they come in December.

First, the one concert that has the true meaning of Christmas front and center would be Handel's Messiah this Sunday night. For the past 20 years, the Van Wert community has been able to expect a Christmas performance of Messiah every two years. This is a Messiah year and we don't intend to disappoint. Since the first Sunday in November, a chorus of 65 singers has been rehearsing in anticipation of December 9 at 7:00 PM in the sanctuary of First United Methodist Church.

I always look forward to putting the chorus on stage and listen to the reverberation of their voices throughout the sanctuary. This past Sunday, we closed the rehearsal by putting them on stage to sing the Hallelujah Chorus. I thought I had just entered St. Patrick's Cathedral. I now know it will be a tremendous performance. I hope to see you there!

My second wish for you is on Thursday night, December 13; the famous Osmond Brothers will be in concert on the stage at the Niswonger Performing Arts Center. This 7:30 PM show has a few seats available yet in the balcony at just $20. Hurry and you might get in. You may have seen the Brothers on TV this week as part of the Andy Williams Christmas rebroadcasts that PBS has been running (don't they bring back family memories?). It is always fun to see the Brothers then and now. Of course, many of us remember when they first came on the scene. Now they are coming to Van Wert to share their Christmas memories and music with us!

An interesting event at the NPAC will be on a rare Thursday afternoon at 1:30 PM. Speaker, historian and folklorist, Ceci Wiselogel will be coming up from the Dayton area to share with us the Legends of Christmas. What does the candy cane represent and why do we associate it with Christmas? Why do we kiss under the mistletoe? Who really is Santa Claus? The answer to these questions can be learned at this event on December 20. Tickets are just $5 each and you may be surprised with the knowledge of Christmas you will leave with.

Three days before Christmas (just enough time to prepare yourself for the big day!), the biggest show of the year comes to the NPAC when Shrek The Musical moves its four semi trucks into the Niswonger to create one of Broadway's most entertaining, musical, and fun family events of the entire year! Bring the entire family and create Christmas memories on this Saturday before Christmas.

Two shows give you flexibility in your schedules: one at 2:00 PM and the other at 7:30 PM. Everyone I have talked to says how wonderful this live stage adaptation of the beloved DreamWorks movie is. Dancing and singing are things that could not be duplicated by the animated film. Tickets are still available for these two December 22 shows, although one show would have easily been sold out. With two shows, we hope to accommodate all who want to catch this mega-show!

This takes us right up to Christmas Eve when many churches will be holding special services and musical presentations. One I have been working on and would invite anyone looking for a special candle-lit Christmas Eve service is our Lessons & Carols at First U.M. Church. If you have your own church services, go there. If not, you will certainly enjoy what we have put together with special music at 10:30 p.m. and the Senior Choir and guests at 11:00 p.m.

Christmas is a very special time of the year and we are blessed in Van Wert with so many wonderful options. I am sure many of you really enjoyed the Oak Ridge Boys Christmas show last week and we look forward to yet a few more magical Christmas moments in music before the big day! FINE