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Christmas spirit alive in Kidron: Sonnenberg Village hosts walk, hymn sing, concert

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Central Christian School is partnering with Kidron Community Historical Society to present “A Christmas Walk: A Live Nativity Adventure” Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 9 and 10 at Sonnenberg Village, 13497 Hackett Road, Apple Creek. Visit www.ccscomets.org for tickets or tickets may be purchased at the village.

KIDRON  The Christmas story will come to life against the beautiful backdrop of Sonnenberg Village next month just outside of Kidron.

The five-acre campus with restored historic buildings, pond, gardens and trees already has stories to tell, and audience members are in for a treat this holiday season with the story of Jesus’ birth told by Central Christian students Dec. 9 and 10 with help from staff, community and family members and area church members.

Sonnenberg Village also hosts a Christmas Concert by the Orrville Community Concert Band Dec. 15 and everyone is welcome to join in for a Hymn Sing hosted by Rock of Ages Church at the Welcome Center Dec. 16.

While helping audience members get into the Christmas spirit, at the same time, visitors at any event at Sonnenberg Village can walk through the village to see the latest restored historical buildings. Recently completed buildings thanks in a large part to project manager Ray Leisy and his crew of volunteers, include the 175-year-old Gerber/Nussbaum barn, the Moser Buggy Shop, which now has Norr print shop equipment (including an original Dalton Gazette press!), and the Nussbaum Summer Haus and Lehman Spring House.

Other buildings that have been preserved and are open for special events throughout the year, such as the Homecoming and Beet Festival, include the Welcome Center (former Sonnenberg Church), Saurer Blacksmith Shop (which is a working shop and makes items for the village), Tschantz Log Cabin, Zuercher House, and Bixler House, which is now home to Hope’s House, which helps provide items to foster families.

Here are three events coming up at Sonnenberg Village for the holidays:

* “A CHRISTMAS WALK: A LIVE NATIVITY ADVENTURE”

Central Christian School is partnering with Kidron Community Historical Society to present “A Christmas Walk: A Live Nativity Adventure” Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 9 and 10 at Sonnenberg Village, 13497 Hackett Road, Apple Creek. Visit www.ccscomets.org for tickets or tickets may be purchased at the village.

Audience members may want to dress up warmly as they will not go inside buildings along the guided tour but the scenes are sure to warm their hearts. How it works is a guide will lead a group of participants every 15 minutes for a tour back in time and through familiar stories in the Bible. The play is written by Christa Wolf, who has written and directed plays in the area including for Sonnenberg Children’s Theatre, and directed by Loretta Singenstreu, who also has acted and been involved in productions locally. Singenstreu is a Central alum and members of her family also are helping out.

“I hope that they are able to come out of the hustle and bustle and just in this country setting to enjoy a story they already know but I hope they see with new eyes …” Singenstreu said about what she hopes community members gain from the experience. “For many Christians, it’s vital to what we believe.”

She said the story began as an oral tradition and “drama is a storytelling venue. It’s a way to expand on the writing and reading of something.

“There’s so much more when you give it a little bit more life,” she said. “In theater when people get costumes on and have all the props they become these characters and it brings it to life.”

Audience members also are in for a treat as students are learning Davidic dance, and a variety of live music will be at the Welcome Center. The performance is a tour of events surrounding the birth of Jesus, according to www.ccscomets.org.

Bible-era guides lead audience members through a series of interactive outdoor stations where they encounter Mary, Joseph, the census taker, the innkeeper, soldiers on horseback, Herod, shepherds – with actual sheep – angels, the Magi, Anna and more.

“Featuring live animals, a starlit stroll in the crisp fall air, live music, and an important message, this unique theater experience is sure to be one to remember,” the website states.

Tickets are $10 for ages 18 and older; $7 for students kindergarten-grade 12; and free for children 5 and younger. Tickets may be purchased in advance on Central Christian’s website or at the door. Tickets may be purchased for a specific time slot. A hospitality tent will have refreshments.

“I initially wrote the Christmas Walk as a play for the church I was attending in 2000,” director Christa Wolf wrote in an email. “They had 5 acres of beautiful rolling meadow I wanted to utilize for an outdoor theatre experience.  It is a passion of mine to bring familiar Bible stories to life in fresh and unique ways.  This story is told, within the parameters of scripture, from the perspective of the people who were there.  It is more than just tableau. Central Christian had contacted me about ideas I might have for their fall play. Using their students would give us a good start on casting, so it seemed like a good year to partner with them and stage ‘The Christmas Walk’ for the first time in this community.  Loretta was available to direct so I adapted the script to accommodate the available actors with Sonnenberg Village in mind.  I am always looking for ways to bring the community together and the Kidron Community Historical Society has been a wonderful partner in the past, so whatever I can do to combine the two is exciting to me.”

* ORRVILLE COMMUNITY CONCERT BAND
Kidron Community Historical Society and Sonnenberg Village present Orrville Community Concert Band’s Christmas Concert at 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 15. Under the direction of John Robinson, the magical medley of music is provided for free to the community and donations to the band are always welcome.

* HYMN SING
The community is welcome to join in during a Christmas carol sing at 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 16. A choir from Rock of Ages Church will perform old and new Christmas carols at the Welcome Center (former Sonnenberg Church building) at the entrance to Sonnenberg Village. Everyone is welcome to listen to their favorite songs of the season. Singing begins at 7 p.m. and hot drinks will be served.

For more information about Kidron Community Historical Society and Sonnenberg Village, visit www.kidronhistoricalsociety.org.

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