By MATT CRANE
With the holiday shopping in full force, the Mississippi State University Praise Chorale hopes to reveal the true meaning of the Christmas season through the power of music.
MSU Praise, under the direction of graduating senior DeAundrae Clayton, will present its third annual “The Spirit of Christmas” musical at 7 p.m. Saturday in the College of Veterinary Medicine’s auditorium at the MSU Wise Center. Doors open an hour before showtime.
Clayton said the event, a sensitively crafted, 75-minute musical, uses both drama and evocative music to look at life during this festive and frenetic season.
“The show addresses the reality as build up to the holiday season,” he said. “As we get everything prepared, we should be still and recognize the true meaning behind this season.”
Clayton said the show will feature a collection of traditional Christmas carols and hymns, as well as highlight some modern Christmas songs.
“One medley called ‘Glorious Songs of Old,’ features ‘It Came Upon a Midnight Clear’ and ‘Hark! The Herald Angels Sing,’” he said. “Some of the new songs also include choruses from older songs that have been sung for years.”
Branching out into the talent pool the Starkville Community has to offer, Clayton said MSU Praise partnered with Lyle Tate and Brad Moreland of the Starkville Community Theatre to star in the acting portion of the program.
“We knew SCT had a rich reputation within the community,” he said. “Bringing them in is the whole purpose of MSU Praise which is to promote diversity through music using various forms of art.”
Clayton said the dramatic story line will find Tate’s and Moreland’s characters meeting on Black Friday, the busiest shopping day of the holiday season.
“As they become acquainted, they share different experiences of their lives through the hustle and bustle of the season,” he said. “They come to realize the real meaning of the season, which is that Christ came to save that which is lost.”
With a summer 2013 graduation on the horizon, Clayton, MSU Praise’s founder and director, said this will be his last Christmas concert with the organization.
“I have learned that it takes a lot of time and energy to put on a program of this caliber,” he said. “It’s great connecting people with the gift of music, and it’s wonderful to see the group grow and find a sense of community and belonging.”
Clayton said pre-show entertainment will begin 6:30 p.m. Saturday featuring local talent and attendees can look forward to all-encompassing look at the holiday season.
“Along with a sign language performance, one of our guests is Stephanie Jackson who will performing featured music from her new album, ‘Noel,’” he said. “People coming to the event will be able to enjoy the sights and sounds of Christmas and can expect to be highly entertained.”