FREEPORT — The music of Christmas will fill the air Sunday at the Jeannette Lloyd Theatre with the annual Freeport High School presentation of the Holiday Pageant.
This tradition held at Freeport Middle School dates back 59 years, where it began under the direction of former Freeport High School icons Dorothy Nelson (choir) and Ernie Seeman (orchestra) and Jeannette Lloyd as a collaboration project between the performing arts department. Dan Wessler, the choral director, said, “It’s about longevity and tradition.”
The pageant is the story of Christmas that is more than 2,000 years old. Wessler said the timeless literature and the power of music is about telling the story through voice, instrument and narration.
“The tradition speaks to the unique beauty of our production,” Wessler said. “This show tells the story in a very unique way, through a combination of orchestral music, choral music, verbal storytelling, and costumed tableau. It’s a type of production you don’t see much anymore, and presents an experience that anyone can appreciate, regardless of your own individual beliefs, due to the beauty and poignancy of the aesthetic.”
Before the performance, the group, which includes more than 200 students, has only two three-hour rehearsals to assemble the work of the individual choirs, orchestra, verse choir, tableau and technicians for the production.
For some of the seniors, like Mallory Donaldson, the Holiday Pageant is bittersweet. Having been part of the production all four years at school, Donaldson said knowing this is her last performance is about “being part of something beautiful for the community.”
“I am part of the Varsity Choir, and what we do is so special for this time of year,” Donaldson said. “For me, Christmas is a time of family and tradition and this pageant embraces what the season means for many.”
The Holiday Pageant will be performed at 2 and 4 p.m. Sunday at the Jeannette Lloyd Theatre at Freeport Middle School. Tickets are $6.
Jane Lethlean; firstname.lastname@example.org; @DOGWMN2