December 4-6, Thomas Road Baptist Church will be hosting its annual Virginia Christmas Spectacular and with over 500 participants it will be an event to remember.
For the past 39-years the Virginia Christmas Spectacular has evolved from a single tree which could hold only 50 singers and a few dozen entertainers to a massive tree which can now hold 125 singers and hundreds of performers on stage.
Thomas Road Baptist Church’s worship pastor Charles Billingsley has been over-seeing VCS for the past six years ever since he returned from his church the Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon, CA.
Thanks to the new location on Candler’s Mountain Road in Lynchburg, VA. TRBC has been able to expand the church in size, allowing for a much more spacious stage and plenty of room for VCS to grow.
“The biggest difference here is that we have a higher ceiling and a way bigger stage, so it just increased our flexibility,” Billingsley said.
Each year, new elements are added to the show in order to keep the crowds coming back, yet keeping it original, however this year Billingsley and director Lorie Marsh instituted a major change from start to finish, creating a brand new plot, brand new characters, songs and setting.
“One thing I wanted to do when I came back was make it an original thing from the very first step. We’ve worked very hard the last few years to create these shows from scratch,” Billingsley said.
Many people from the surrounding area of Lynchburg and Virginia come to attend VCS, some even attend annually to see the beautiful live performance and to hear the message of the Gospel through the birth of Jesus.
Since September 12, VCS cast a crew members worked tirelessly around the clock every week to prepare for the opening night performance on December 4 with a total of 253 new people auditioning for a part in the show.
“I feel that my role is to direct traffic. I think in all the shows I’ve ever done, I don’t think we’ve ever worked with a better team. Each of these people in these roles is just really top-rate. Lynchburg is very fortunate to have this team.” Marsh said.
Billingsley states however that even though the Gospel is presented in the show, it is more about entertainment and bringing the community and families together during Christmas time.
In an interview with one observer of the Virginia Christmas spectacular it was stated, “In past years, I took away more of a Christmas spirit, I believe the story of the Birth of Jesus was more of an importance than just entertainment.” Mollie Baity, who attended VCS on December 4, said.
However even without emphasis on the Gospel, VCS manages to draw in thousands of people each year without any problem while managing to still involve the birth of Christ so that those who might have never heard the story of Jesus might have a chance to learn about him.
Thomas Road Baptist Church hosts its 39th annual Virginia Christmas Spectacular December 4-6; selling over ten-thousand tickets this year alone and with nearly 500 cast members it will be an event to remember.
Since September 12, the TRBC community has been working tirelessly on preparing for its epic annual Christmas show, where talent from all over the state of Virginia is brought together to bring its audience pure talent.
TRBC worship pastor Charles Billingsley has over-seen VCS for the past six years, bringing with him talent and an insight into the entertainment business through his musical career in both California and Virginia.
In this year’s production of the Virginia Christmas Spectacular, Charles hired well-known Director Lorie Marsh and her husband, Don, a highly respected composer who brought with them 20 years of experience in the producing fields of Nashville, San Diego, Los Angeles and Denver.
Honing in on the entertainment aspect this year, Billingsley and Lorie Marsh hosted auditions for a total of 253 people this year, looking for pure talent in people and a wow factor that would stun the crowd and keep them coming back each year.
“We don’t make any bones about it, this show is about entertainment. We want to entertain audiences with a great storyline and great lights and great music.” Billingsley said.
On what was called “Choreography of lights” by Technical Director, Jon Daggett, he spoke on the importance of the lights flowing with the music; he did not want the lights to just flick on and off but for them to dance with the music.
“Choreograph is probably the best term you can use. Rather than just have the lights blinking on and off, we try to have them flow with the music. If you hear a cymbal crescendo, we want you to see that cymbal crescendo in lights,” Daggett said.
As the show went out with a blast of applause from the audience on opening night, all of the hard work from the entire staff and cast members paid-off and the Christmas spirit was awakened in the hearts of all who attended.
“Here you can see what an emptied out building, a few workers remaining, cleaning out what was left of the Virginia Christmas Spectacular.
The crowds are gone, the lights are dimming down, and the decorations are being taken down.
In this building it’s pretty empty, but this nice it was crazy busy, it was fantastic. The crows went wile over the spectacular show and all the hard work that went into it.
It was a job well done for another Thomas Road Christmas Spectacular. ”