SOUL Church gives Norwich the Wonder of Christmas
At 10am on Saturday, December 7 SOUL Church opened its doors to the first of 14 free performances of its Christmas spectacular The Wonder, treating an audience of over 500 people to a show that pulls out all the stops. Jenny Seal reports.
Everything about The Wonder is big this Christmas. SOUL Church is exerting every effort to treat their city to a show that inspires wonder and gives glory to God.
A cast of around 100 will perform this two-hour extravaganza, free of charge, fourteen times over two weekends, to thousands of people. Pastor Jon Norman called the show "a wonder of generosity" explaining, "it takes over 300 volunteers giving around 14,000 man-hours to put on The Wonder".
On Saturday, December 7, throngs of show-goers entered the building for the first show at 10am. An army of greeters dressed in prominent red jumpers emblazoned with ‘It’s a wonderful time of year’ gave a warm welcome to every person, young and old.
The auditorium is professionally and warmly lit, and outsized props and striking projections fill the huge stage. The show opens with a fast-paced medley of Rock Around the Clock and Jingle Bell Rock sang by Pastor Chantel Norman with a crew of dancers and backing singers dressed in stylish polka dots.
The show follows the story of a father of three who, preoccupied with work and deadlines, has become oblivious to the wonder of Christmas. In a creative narrative that involves Santa in his underwear, the practically perfect Mary Poppins, music from The Lion King and a blue-faced Genie, Kevin revisits his past to realize the joy and wonder he is missing.
In beautiful costumes the cast sing and dance to Disney classics, popular Christmas songs and carols. Fast choreographed, high energy numbers are mixed with acoustic songs, in addition to Christian anthems sang by a white-robed choir led by Linda Nnene. The songs are interspersed with comedy, graphics and a presentation about the church’s Christmas giving project, The Wonder Tree.
Before the finale of ‘Rocking around the Christmas Tree’, Pastor Jon Norman gives a short Gospel message about the gift of peace. He said: "Often we can forget the true wonder of Christmas is that God sent his son to earth, Jesus, to be born in a manger. He lived, he grew up, and he died a cruel death on a cross. Three days later, he rose again. And I want to give you the greatest gift that you can experience…". He continued, "I believe the true wonder of Christmas is that Jesus accepts you just the way you are and that you can live with peace."
On the way out, each child is given a free wrapped present containing a Christmas activity book. The Wonder is SOUL Church’s gift to Norwich this Christmas.
There are ten more opportunities to experience it at 10am, 1pm and 4pm today, Saturday, December 14 and Sunday, December 15 with an additional performance at 7pm next Saturday.