Hurrah for Morgan Mill!

Saturday, Dec. 16, will be the fourteenth annual Live Nativity Pageant for Morgan Mill.  Looking back to 2004, Roger Behymer was organizing the community choir and Jeanette Halliday was getting the cast of characters for a “drive-through” live nativity scene at the tabernacle.

Well, the drive-through thing did not work and changes had to be made.  Instead of a manager scene with people driving by, it would become a living story of the night that Christ was born. 

Looking at the Dec. 26 Milling Around, one found names such as Verbie Burns and Yvonne Lindenmeir as angels, John Moore, Wesley Slimp, Ron Bruton, and Ken Broeder as Wise Men; Vannie Halliday, CJ Cline, Timothy Parker, Ryan Price, and Rick Goode as the shepherds.  Mary and Joseph were played by Randy Price, Caitlyn Cline, Rachel Price, and James and Krissy Gillis.  Little angels were Jace and Tallon Halliday, Cassidy and CeCe Cline, Whitney Green, Kaity and Alie Price.  Debra Parker has been cooking up hot chocolate to the crowds since the beginning.  My most memorable thing about the first Nativity was how cold it was.

Changes in the Nativity are numerous.  Fred and Miralu Zimmerman led the community choir in 2005.  We were in the new Community Center with new fabulous, elaborate costumes made by Sandy Sandstrom.  In 2006, the music was provided by David Quinn and Rolan Garcia.  There was a new character, King Herod.  John Sandstrom started adding permanent lights to the outdoor area at the Community Center.  The 2007 Milling Around described the performance as the characters “moving through the audience.”  This was the first year for the addition of soups and sandwiches for all.  The Empire Tribune carried a colored picture of the previous Nativity on the front page on December 19, 2008.  The live Nativity now has a name, “O Holy Night”.  The 2009 was “a lot of the same”.  In 2010 the Inn Keeper comes on the scene.  Ron Bruton, who had been playing a shepherd, moved into the new role. 

         This year the Live Nativity Pageant will be Saturday, December 16th at 5:30.  Mike Lincoln will again be in the role of stage manager and director.  The new emcee will be John Sandstrom.  Larry Cotten will again be narrating.  Brian Barto will return as Joseph and a new Mary will be Cloe Anderson, who is Larry and Kelli Cotten’s daughter.  She is pregnant with her first child.  A new person will be in the role of angel, Sandy Sandstrom.  The three Wise Men are returning; Calvin Spindor, Ken Broeder, and John Moore.  Ken and John have had the same role since the beginning.  A new Shepherd this year is Kevin Allen.  King Herod is a returning Ken Stokes.  The Inn Keeper is also a new participant, Allan Heronema.  Allan is new to Morgan Mill and his first Nativity.

The Inn Keeper’s daughter will be played by his grand child, CateLynn Jones, also her first Nativity.  There are a lot of volunteers who are responsible for the soup and sandwiches, but Pat Broeder is the coordinator.  Debbie Lincoln will be in the background doing photographs and various other responsibilities.  Music will be under the direction of Rolan Garcia.  Gary Spindor, who started as a shepherd, has moved into lighting several years ago.  Beverages will be as always under the direction of Debra Parker.  It has been fun to look back at the development of the Nativity.  My hope is that you come and see your community in a tradition that has grown through the years. 

It starts at 5:30. Come early for a good seat and hot chocolate. Bring your blanket if it is cold.