Twenty silver halos sit on the heads of the children at Sturgeon Baptist Church. Mary, Joseph and the three wise men look around the room nervously.
Kelly Reeves, director of the children’s choir, stands in the doorway. There are only 10 minutes until the start of the dress rehearsal for “Angel Alert,” the church’s Christmas play, she warns.
As with many shows with young performers, part of this dress rehearsal involves reinforcing a basic requirement: silence backstage.
“You all were very quiet,” Kelly announces with pleasure to the cast, whose members range in age from 5 to 11. “I couldn’t hear you when I was upstairs.”
High-pitched, happy voices break the silence when the choir leader asks the children to practice a few songs.
Forty arms pop into the air and sway like ocean waves to the rhythm of the song “The Night That Heaven Came Down.”
As Kelly gives last-minute tips for the show, three girls in the front row shout a song request.
“Let’s sing ‘Glory in the Highest!’” they squeal in excitement. She approves.
The children wear huge grins, snapping their fingers as the words of their favorite song reverberate through every church room.
“It’s time to go upstairs,” Kelly says once the song is
The first row of children quietly files out of the room, and the last boy begins to lose his silver halo.
Other students quickly help him put it back in place, following him upstairs to the church sanctuary.
The stage, lit with hundreds of tiny white lights and a few Christmas trees, gives a warm glow to the sanctuary.
Students take their positions on the choir steps.
“May I have your attention, please?” announces Kelli Ridgeway, 11, who plays the angel Gabriel.
The little singers burst into the first song of the program.