Annual Christmas cantata set

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Photo provided Pictured is the River of Life United Methodist Church Chancel Choir and guests in a recent cantata. Along with First Congregational Church, they will present "The Song Heard 'Round the World" this weekend.

BELOIT - First Congre-gational Church (FCC) and River of Life United Methodist Church (ROL UMC) will join together this weekend for their annual Christmas musical presentation to the commnity.

Featuring the ROL UMC Chancel Choir and friends, plus piano and orchestra, "The Song Heard Round the World" will be presented at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 9 and, in a combined worship service, at 10 a.m. on Sunday, Dec. 10, at First Congregational Church, 801 Bushnell St. FCC organist Max Yount and ROL pianist-organist Judith Paddock will play an organ-piano prelude.

The two churches, now in their third year of collaboration, are committed to the ecumenical outreach of this event. Planning and participation are shared by both churches.

The cantata is directed by ROL Director of Music Lois Ulvin, with piano by Judith Paddock. Narration is shared by FCC's lead pastor, Rev. Joy Baumgartner, and Dan Kreisman, longtime collaborator with the ROL choir.

The newly composed work was selected for its timely message. It includes many familiar Christmas carols and folk songs, emphasizing that all are God's people. It calls people, in the celebration of Christ's birth, to come together in peace, and closes with the candlelight singing of "Silent Night."

The public is invited. A free-will offering will be taken, to benefit the two churches' music programs.

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