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East Albany Worship Choir plans program

ALBANY -- More than 50 voices from four East Albany churches will unite at the Sunnyside Baptist Church sanctuary Dec. 11 to perform the multimedia Christmas musical "Mary, Did You Know?"

Adult choir members from Sunnyside Baptist, First Baptist Acree, Beulah United Methodist and the Marine Corps Logistics Base-Albany Chapel will join the Acree church's children's choir to become the East Albany Christmas Worship Choir and perform the musical created by Russell Mauldin, Sue Smith and Johnathan Crumpton and arranged and orchestrated by Mauldin.

"This kind of started with (MCLB-Albany minister of music and Christmas worship choir director) Mike Wojnar, who came to me and other music directors with the idea," Sunnyside minister of music Charles Jones said. "Other churches were approached but it didn't fit into their plans, so we joined the choirs from these four churches in East Albany.

"The idea is to present this music as an expression of why we celebrate Christmas. Hopefully, those who attend will get a glimpse at the real gift of the season."

Church officials -- pastor Brian Allen and interim music director Dana Heath at Acree, pastor Kenny West and music director Susan Beverly at Beulah, Wojner and Chaplain Lt. Ken Miller at MCLB-Albany, and Jones, who is currently pulling double duty as Sunnyland's pastor -- at all four houses of worship have been actively involved in the planning and logistics of the one-time performance, which starts at 6 p.m.

Accompanist and children's choir director Debbie Dunn and narrator Robert Beverly are also involved in the program.

"This is quite a good program, but we've never done this kind of thing before," Jones said. "We might consider turning it into an annual event, but that's not something we're dealing with at the present time. I think everyone wants to see how this goes.

"There is no charge for attendance, but we will take up a love offering for the Samaritan's Purse organization run by Franklin Graham. We want to stress, though, that everyone is welcome, even if you can't contribute to the love offering."

Sunnyside Baptist is located at 320 S. Mock Road.