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| 2 min read | by Lonnie Huhman, lhuhman@thesuntimesnews.com |

Chelsea’s Hometown Holiday experience is truly a celebration of the community, and its talent.

Throughout the weekend, the Chelsea community kicked off the holiday season with such fun things as the tree lighting on Friday to the parade on Saturday. One of the great moments of the weekend and which was one of the ways the great local talent was demonstrated was at the Hometown Holiday Concert on Sunday, Dec. 9.

The concert is presented by the Chelsea Chamber Players with the Chelsea First United Methodist Church Choir, Chelsea High School Choir and some students from the CHS Orchestra. Steve Hinz, longtime CHS vocal music director, served as conductor.

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The concert took place inside the Chelsea First United Methodist Church twice on Dec. 8. The Sun Times News went to the 3 p.m. concert and saw a packed house with some people standing in the back and side aisles of the church’s sanctuary.

The choirs gave a great performance on Dec. 8.

Rodney Gasaway, the church’s Deacon and Director of Adult Ministries, welcomed the attendees, who ranged in age from the young to the old. Since arriving to the First United Methodist Church as a staff member, Gasaway said this was his first time for the concert and he was excited because it was something that’s been talked about for almost a year.

“And when they said they would pack this joint they were not lying,” he said with a smile.

Hinz called the Hometown Holiday a celebration of the community, and said one great way to do that is through music.

The Sunday performances saw the group doing a simple symphony, five Hebrew love songs as well as a number of carols.

Sara Cumming, President of the Chelsea Chamber Players, said this December concert with high school students has been happening since 2005.

She said the concert was held in the Depot, but when they added choirs and joined forces with the First United Methodist Church, the December performances moved to the church in 2011 to accommodate more performers and a larger audience.

The orchestra music sounded wonderful inside the Chelsea First United Methodist Church on Dec. 8.

The performers put in a considerable amount of time on preparation, Cumming said. Music is selected and purchased over the summer, she said and rehearsals start in November.

She said the concert consists of a talented group of high school orchestra students, and choir students as well as the choir from the CFUMC. The Chelsea Chamber Players include local professional musicians. She said for the Dec. 8 concert it was Nathan Peters, violin; Phillip Sylvester, violin; Ian Cumming, viola; Sara Cumming, cello; Jed Fritzemeier, bass will be participating.

If you missed it don’t fret. This is not a onetime thing for the Chelsea Chamber Players, which this coming year is celebrating its 20th anniversary.

Cumming said they are having a huge piece commissioned by local composer Brian Brill to celebrate this milestone for the December 2020 concert. She said they also hope to bring back many CHS graduates who went on in music to perform in this premiere.

In addition, there will a special Fall concert at 3 p.m. on October 4, 2020, at the First United Methodist Church featuring the Mendelssohn Octet.

This March 2020 will feature Little Red composed by Brian Brill. This is a family oriented concert to be held in the depot at 3 p.m. on March 15.

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