HERMISTON - His hand comes down and the singing and music immediately stop. All eyes are on Lon Sitton, waiting for the next command.
"Stop the music," Sitton said. "You sopranos don't sound very sure of your notes. OK, let's take it from 'Glory on the highest.'"
The Grace Baptist Church Choir, under the direction of Sitton, the music minister and music director of the church, spends every Tuesday evening perfecting and fine-tuning its presentation of "In All His Glory."
As music minister, Sitton plans to keep looking for more praise and worship in music that is uplifting, that will reach hearts and change lives, he said. He also wants to reach out to the community and his church with music that is evangelistic by equipping the saints in his congregation to share their talents .
With this in mind he and the choir chose to present this particular cantata to the community this Christmas season.
"This cantata talks about not only the Bible," Sitton said. "But the music talks about the glory of God coming to earth. Not only in the coming of the baby, but in the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross."
Sitton admitted he did not choose the selection himself. Ginger Linkel, a member of Grace Baptist, selected the piece and brought it to his attention.
"I read it and said, 'I like this,'" Sitton said. "It is an all-encompassing cantata of the ultimate gifts of God that came to earth in the package of one small baby."
The music, songs, solos and narration will reflect this. The music is traditional and newer Christmas songs, but the musical will also include songs focusing on the crucifixion and resurrection and will climax with a song talking about God's glory in the return of Christ, Sitton said.
Soloists for the cantata will include Cindy McIntyre, Linkel, Lisa Baum and Taylor Baum. They will join with at least eight other members of the congregation under the direction of Sitton. Steve Hunter will narrate the production as well as perform as a vocalist. Steve McIntrye is in charge of the lighting and sound.
The cantata will begin at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 18, at Grace Baptist Church, 555 S.W. 11th St. The church will also celebrate the Christmas season with a candlelight service at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 24, at the church. The cantata and candlelight services are open to the community free of charge.
Carol Marcum is the Community Editor in the East Oregonian's Hermiston Bureau. She can be reached (800) 522-0255 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.