This holiday tradition began 27 years ago by the church’s former minister of music, Kurt Wachtel and there was only one year in which the church didn’t hold the concert.
“A lot of people who go say it’s really the start of the Christmas season for them,” said FBCW Minister of Traditional Worship Steven Thomason. “It just kinda kicks off the holiday season for a lot of people.”
The program features a selection of old and new Christmas carols and involves more than a hundred musicians and support volunteers.
“We have a full chancel choir of 60 members, full orchestra and members around the church serve as ushers, greeters and production team,” said Thomason.
The chancel choir members have been rehearsing music selections since mid-August. While most of the singers are members of the church, a number of them are from the community.
“Local churches in the area will bring their singers, we have some high school singers from Ashley High School, so its kind of a community production in many ways,” Thomason said.
The full orchestra is comprised of both FBCW members and professional musicians from across the Cape Fear region.
All performances on Friday, Saturday and Sunday will be held at 7:30 p.m. with an additional matinee performance Saturday at 3 p.m. Admission is free but you’re encouraged to arrive at least an hour prior to each performance.
“Saturday night is the least attended because there are other things going on in town,” Thomason said. “Saturday afternoon and Sunday night are usually packed.”
At each performance, the audience is invited to leave a monetary donation towards Cape Fear Habitat for Humanity at any of the entrances to the sanctuary.
During his four years at the church, Thomason says he has received a similar reaction from many attendees who have experienced this 26-year holiday tradition.
“People will always tell me that they never expected it to be as good as it is and it seems to get better every year,” he said.