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Fredericksburg children join ‘The Story Tour’

Little did Allison Mayberry know when she called to ask about group tickets for “The Story Tour” that children from the Christian Youth Theatre in Fredericksburg would be invited to perform in the show.

“Our kids work so hard,” said Mayberry, director of marketing and publicity for the after-school program.

“To sing before 6,000 people at one time is such a blessing,” she said.

Sponsored by World Vision in Federal Way, Wash., the multimedia show featuring some of the country’s top Christian singers will perform at the Patriot Center in Fairfax on Tuesday.

Promoters in each city on the tour invite a local children’s group to sing Christmas carols on stage with the entertainers before the show begins, and the Fredericksburg program fit their criteria.

Mayberry said 20 students from the Christian Youth Theatre, ages 8 to 17, will sing six Christmas songs, including “Joy to the World” and “Hark the Herald Angels Sing.”

The children have been rehearsing, but they also already know how to sing, having recently performed in the program’s productions of “Annie,” “Wizard of Oz” and “Beauty and the Beast.”

“It gives families some place to go that isn’t super expensive,” Mayberry said about the shows.

Children from the chorus also plan to present $2,000 to one of the tour’s performing groups, Casting Crowns, to take back to their bass player, Chris Huffman, in Atlanta.

Huffman’s young son Silas has serious heart problems, and the children wanted to help by giving the group a check “to bring home to Chris,” Mayberry said.

“Our kids listen to their music,” she said about the songs of tour performers such as Casting Crowns, Steven Curtis Chapman and Selah.

Mayberry said she took one of her own children to “The Story Tour” last year when it performed in the 3,500-seat Hylton Memorial Chapel venue in Woodbridge.

“It takes you through the Bible from beginning to end,” said Mayberry, who plans to bring all four of her children this year.

“People who have never heard of ‘The Story Tour’ — they come to it, and it changes their lives,” she said.

vterhune@gazette.net

Casting Crowns, Selah and Steven Curtis Chapman are among the top-selling Christian singers with the traveling multimedia show “The Story Tour,” coming to the Patriot Center in Fairfax on Tuesday.

“Anyone you know, regardless of their religious beliefs, will come away with a deeper understanding of what the Bible is, who God is and why we’re here,” said Mark Hall, lead singer of Casting Crowns, based in Atlanta.

‘The Story Tour’

When: 7 p.m. Tuesday

Where: Patriot Center, George Mason University, 4400 University Drive, Fairfax

Tickets: $20-$75, plus service charges

For information: 703-993-3035; 703- 993-3000; Ticketmaster: 800-745-3000; Patriotcenter.com; thestorycd.com

Also performing will be Natalie Grant, Matthew West, Nichole Nordeman and Rawsrvnt as part of the tour, now in its third year.

The show, which evolved from several books, moves from Genesis through Revelation, telling the story of the Bible through some of its major figures, beginning with Adam and Eve and moving by sections through Moses and Jesus to Paul.

The tour is sponsored by World Vision, a group based in Federal Way, Wash., that raises money to help impoverished children. Proceeds from the sale of the show’s CDs go to World Vision, and audience members also will have a chance to sign up to sponsor children at the show.

“The Story Tour” begins with a Christmas sing-along with the performers, audience and 20 members of the Christian Youth Theatre in Fredericksburg singing traditional carols such as “Joy to the World,” “O Holy Night,” “Away in a Manger” and “Silent Night.”

“It’s a big medley for the whole crowd,” said Hall, who expects to sing a favorite of his father’s called “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day,” which is based on an 1863 poem “Christmas Bells” by Longfellow.

Written during the War Between the States, the narrator says in despair, “Hate is strong and mocks the song of peace on earth, good will to men,” but “the bells keep ringing,” said Hall about faith and hope for the future.

After the carols, the performers will begin “The Story,” which evolved from a collaboration between senior minister Randy Frazee and pastor Max Lucado, both of Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, along with the Christian publishing company Zondervan, which publishes a bible called “The Story.”

“The Bible is not laid out chronologically — you can sometimes get lost and sometimes get confused,” Hall said. “[So what they did] was to go from Genesis to Revelation in order.”

In 2011, “(Music Inspired By) The Story” was released on a double CD album featuring 18 songs, with lyrics by Nordeman and Bernie Herms, performed by different high-profile artists.

On the CD, Hall and Megan Garrett sing “Who But You,” a song focusing on Abraham and Sarah.

“In the show [accompanied by a live orchestra], we all take several of the characters,” said Hall, who also will sing songs about Jesus and Paul.

Frazee, meanwhile, acts as the narrator, helping to link the sections, Hall said.

A DVD also was created with video accompanying each section that will appear on a giant screen behind the stage, along with the lyrics to the songs.

For 22 years, Hall has worked as a youth pastor at his church, Eagle’s Landing First Baptist Church in Atlanta, on Sundays through Wednesdays. The rest of the week he’s free to travel and tour with Casting Crowns, which will release its latest CD, “Thrive,” on Jan. 28, followed by a tour to promote the album with Laura Story and For King & Country.

“It’s our fifth full-length album,” said Hall, who, along with fellow band members, has won several of the Gospel Music Association’s Dove Awards for Group of the Year, along with many other industry awards.

Hall said for nonbelievers, “The Story Tour” is a chance to see and hear the story of the Bible explained in a chronological way. “You can see how the dots connect,” he said.

And for Christians already familiar with the show, “It’s a chance to hear your favorite artists, it’s a Christmas season event, and the whole family can come,” he said.

“It reminds you what Christmas is all about. ... The goal is to make it a Christmas tradition,” Hall said.



vterhune@gazette.net