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Gresham Christmas Choir set to sing in the holiday

Choir to perform 'Changed by a Baby Boy' twice on Dec. 20

The Gresham Christmas Choir plans to tell how the world was “Changed by a Baby Boy” this weekend when it presents a musically eclectic selection of songs, interspersed with narration, at 3 and 5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 20, at First Baptist Church, 224 W. Powell Blvd.

Both performances are free and open to the public.

“We’re not even taking an offering, which is rather strange for a Baptist church,” says choir Director Brian Gerards with a laugh.

The concerts will feature 56 singers as well as a seven-piece orchestra playing flute, oboe, trumpet, strings synthesizer, piano, bass and drums, says Gerards, who taught music in the Gresham-Barlow School District from 1990 to 2012. The Gresham Christmas Choir debuted the musical at the Union Gospel Mission in downtown Portland on Sunday, Dec. 13.

“We’re going to open with a medley of Advent songs,” he says, noting the concert will feature tunes drawn from Caribbean music, New Orleans jazz and Southern Gospel. The show’s centerpiece is “Changed by a Baby Boy,” a musical inspired by the famed gospel tune written by Bill and Gloria Gaither, and arranged by Grammy- and Dove-award winning gospel composer Lari Goss, who died in January.

The music can be challenging at times, Gerards says, but the choir has been working hard to learn their parts. About half the choir belongs to First Baptist and the rest of the members are drawn from all around the Gresham area, Gerards says. Even if you're not all that into church music, Gerards says this musical should appeal to you.

“It’s a very, very sweet musical, a lot of fun to sing and a lot of fun to listen to."