GREENFIELD — Jerry Bell has a vision for an annual Christmas celebration of the performing arts: to bring performers of all kinds together for a community observance of the holiday season, starting with his own Brandywine Wind concert band.
The Brandywine Wind, directed by Jerry Bell — and its sister-group the Brandywine Wind jazz band — are the featured entertainment for Christmastide Celebration 2016 at 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. at Trinity Park United Methodist Church, 207 W. Park Ave., but they will share the spotlight with a number of musical friends including singer Anita Workman.
By day, Workman is the front office secretary at Harris Elementary School, but for the past seven years, she has taken the stage during the Christmas season as the featured vocalist for both the Brandywine Wind and the jazz band.
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Workman plans to don her holiday apparel and sing two songs, including her personal favorite, “Where’s the Line to See Jesus?”
In addition to Workman’s vocals, Bell is excited about the addition of the Crossroad Brass Band to the performance roster. Modeled after brass bands that were popular in Britain and during America’s Civil War in the 1800s, this 25-member ensemble based in Franklin will join the Brandywine Wind concert band as part of an antiphonal fanfare at the opening of the performance.
Bell defines antiphonal by explaining that the concert band will be playing from the front of the room, and the Crossroads Brass Band will join them from the back of the room.
“Declaration of Christmas,” an orchestral fanfare written by Paul Bork, artistic director of the Crossroads Brass Band as well as a member of the Brandywine Wind, will open the show, Bell said.
“He (Bork) created a fanfare for this event,” Bell said.
Other guest performers include Laney Wilson, a jazz vocalist with Indy’s Cool City Band, known for its Las Vegas swing sound, and locally-known performer Sidney Paige.
Paige plans to sing two numbers in the show, independent of the bands on the stage, one of which she wrote herself called “Gas Station Christmas” about the early years of her parents’ marriage.
“My dad was working a lot and he totally forgot Christmas,” Paige said. “He went to the gas station to buy a stuffed animal and some roses. Mom didn’t take it too well.”
In addition to instrumental and vocal acts, Debbie Wilkerson of the Wilkerson Dance Studio is also on board with the holiday celebration. Using the performance theme “Christmas Past” as a springboard, Wilkerson picked traditional Christmas songs for the dances included in the show.
The afternoon show will spotlight Wilkerson’s adult dance classes performing jazz choreography to “Ghosts from Christmas Past” and tap dancing to a New Year’s Eve medley. A group of younger girls will dance to “Winter Wonderland.”
“Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” “Jingle Bell Rock” and a medley from the Nutcracker ballet will be part of the 7:30 p.m. performance.
Wilkerson has participated in community Christmas events through the years and is proud to be included in the Christmastide Celebration for the second year in a row.
“It’s important that our studio is an involved part of the community and that we give back,” Wilkerson said.
Bell, the driving force behind the event, has collaborated not only with performing partners, but with service organizations as well.
Members of the Greenfield Sertoma group will be selling holiday pies in the lobby for $7 and offering photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus for $2 each to raise money for Sertoma service projects.
“Sertoma is our premiere sponsor,” Bell said.
Bell also encourages everyone who attends the afternoon or the evening concert to bring in nonperishable food items which will be donated to the local food pantry.
“We’ve combined forces to make it worthy of the whole community,” Bell said.
Bell’s vision for this collaborative Christmas concert is to make it an annual event. He has amassed local and regional talent and pulled in service organizations as well and his plan is to schedule the concert for the same December weekend each year.
“We really want it to become a major tradition to create a spirit of community and the true meaning of the Christmastide season,” Bell said.
Tickets are $5 per person at the door or $15 for a four-pack of tickets.