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Christ Church Bronxville to Host Hymn Sing January 5 at 5 PM PDF Print Email

Dec. 31, 2013:  Christ Church Bronxville is thrilled to welcome back James Mayo III on January 5 at 5:00 pm to lead the great hymn-singing tradition of Camp Dudley. Mayo (as he is known at Camp Dudley) will share his love for kids and great hymns with the Bronxville community. People from all churches and of all ages are invited to this terrific evening of loud, spirited, and fun hymn singing. 

Admission is free and donations will benefit Young at Arts, a nonprofit performing arts organization.

Pictured here:  Christ Church Bronxville. 

Photo by A. Warner 

Annual Village Christmas Pageant this Evening at 5:30 pm on Reformed Church Hillside: See List of Players PDF Print Email

Dec. 24, 2013:  This evening, Tuesday, December 24, at 5:30 pm, the 99th Bronxville Village Christmas Pageant will take place on the hillside in front of The Reformed Church of Bronxville. 

Following a long-established custom, adult representatives and youth from local churches and civic organizations will fill the roles of the Holy Family, angels, and shepherds. 

Glenn Bellitto, Eastchester town councilman, will play the role of Joseph this year. The three wise men will be played by Dave Ruby, Tim McGrath, and Bill GayMary will be played by Lily O’Neill, a high school senior. Mary will ride a live donkey to the crèche. The manger angel will be Sophie Pingel.

Stoddart Platt, lead shepherd, will lead the group of shepherds to Bethlehem. Henry Palermo and Stephen Shoemaker will be shepherd boys who will point to the crèche and wave to the crowd to behold the sight. The shepherds are Dan Johnson, Joseph Godfrey, Tom Romo, Daniel Romo, Spencer Pingel, Rory Pingel, and Murdoch McBride.

Angels will be played by Hilary Rizzo, Kate Ferone, and Bridget Reilly from St. Joseph's Church, Peyton Elder, Kathleen Conaton, Charlotte Reynolds, and Lucy Whitney from Christ Church, Neyomie Alberto from GoldenSword International Fellowship Church, and Gretchen Richter, Zoe Klimley, Celia Haims, Sabina Richter, and Grace Winant from The Reformed Church of Bronxville.

The following ministers from seven local churches will give readings:  The Reverend Lamont S. Granby, First Baptist Church; The Reverend Ken Ruge, The Reformed Church of Bronxville; The Reverend Cari Pattison, The Reformed Church of Bronxville; The Reverend John M. Barrett, West Center Congregational Church; The Reverend Michael A. Bird, Christ Church Bronxville; Bishop Derek Owens, GoldenSword International Fellowship Church; The Reverend Peter McGeory, St. Joseph's Church; and Vicar Morris Mayer, Village Lutheran Church.

Maryann Palermo will again lead the Invisible Choir, which will sing "Gloria in Excelsis Deo." In addition to the music of the Invisible Choir, there will also be a brass quartet led by Wyn Walshe, and carols will be sung under the leadership of Dale Walker. Lighting and technical assistance will be provided by Jeff Kastenbaum and Rick Everett. The Christmas trees will come from Danny's Trees in Eastchester. 

The original pageant was the creation of William Chauncy Langdon, a well-known international pageanteer. At the turn of the twentieth century, pageants were a popular form of entertainment throughout Europe. Mr. Langdon, who was American, lived and worked abroad for many years. At the outset of World War I, many Belgians were displaced. Though the United States had not yet entered the war at the time the play was written, sympathy existed for the Belgian refugees, and the play was presented at Christ Church Bronxville to raise funds for the benefit of the Belgians. The original version was called The Bronxville Christmas Mystery. It was presented on a triple stage, the three levels corresponding to the local (Bronxville), the worldwide (Belgium), and the universal (Bethlehem). The production was a huge success and has continued to be performed in an adapted form.

The pageant is supported by donations from the local community. If you are interested in contributing, please send your contribution to Bronxville Village Christmas Pageant, PO Box 397, Bronxville, NY 10708. If you wish to volunteer, please contact the pageant at 914-337-0581. 

The pageant committee is looking forward to its centennial celebration in 2014. In anticipation of the centennial, we are collecting stories, memories, and photographs from the community of past pageants. We are interested in hearing from those who acted in the pageant itself as well as from those who attended.  Many Bronxvillians have fond Christmas memories of the event. If you have a story to share, please send it to the address in the previous paragraph. 

Pictured here:  Students performing as angels during a past Bronxville Village Christmas Pageant.

Photo by Melinda Burge

Students Reenact Christmas Story at 60th White Gift Service December 15 PDF Print Email

Dec. 24, 2013:   On Sunday, December 15, the 60th annual White Gift Christmas Service was celebrated at The Reformed Church of Bronxville. 

The service is a reenactment of the Christmas story, led entirely by the church's high school students, with high school seniors in the principal roles. From the pulpit, narrators Page Marshall and Katie Monaco guided the congregation through the nativity story as its scenes were enacted before a full house. Kim Walters played the part of Mary, singing "Joseph Tender, Joseph Mine." Parker Lapins served as Joseph.  Playing the role of the angel Gabriel was Gretchen Richter, who sang "The Angel Gabriel from Heaven Came," with accompaniment by the Reformed Church's youth choirs. 

After the birth of the baby Jesus, the angel Gabriel was joined by a "multitude of angels," played by Caroline Cory, Ellie Hanrahan, Lily O’Neill, and Jane Torell. Gabriel then spread the glad tidings to shepherds Ross Hoch, Andrew Lemberger, Graham Klimley, Preston Klimley, Zach Shively, Charlie Tarry, and Robby Westerfield, who hurried to see the baby in the manger. Villagers, who followed the shepherds to pay homage to the Christ child, were played by Sam Aherne, Cece Haims, Ryan Hanrahan, Andrew Harwood, Alex Londal, and Caroline Schetlick

The climax of the service was the awe-inspiring "March of the Kings," in which the three bearded and robed wise men carried their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh to the baby Jesus. The highly coveted roles of wise men were played by Liam Aherne, Liz Cory, and Tim DonohueTim Buttigieg was the page, leading them up the church's aisle as cymbals, tambourines, clavés, and drums resounded. 

After the wise men brought their gifts, all of the children at the service followed them up the center aisle, carrying gifts wrapped in white paper. The white-wrapped gifts were collected by ninth grade ushers for distribution to families in the Nodine Hill neighborhood of Yonkers, as part of the Reformed Church's "Opening Doors" project. Ushers this year were Lucy Hanrahan, Sabina Richter, Joe Shively, Emily Spitz, and Christina Weiler. Special thanks go to Francesca Guglielmo for coordinating the distribution of the gifts.

The high school seniors rehearsed and memorized for weeks in preparation for the White Gift Service. All five youth choirs performed alongside the thirty or more high school students in one of the most heavily attended events of the year. In many ways, the service is a culmination of over a decade of choir participation, and seniors regard it as a key celebration of their high school years. Parents and grandparents watched with mixed emotions, as their now grown-up "babies" recited and sang, just months before they will head off to college.

All the leads and choirs were prepared and conducted by Laura Green, the Reformed Church's youth choir director, with great support from the choir guild. Music directors were Laura Green and Dr. Sándor SzabóJames Ferguson, Ross Hoch, Quinn Pfeiffer, Teddy Wardell, and Andrew Wetty were musicians.  Robby Schetlick was the banner carrier, leading the opening choir processional. Overall direction and cast preparation was led by volunteer Nina Richter, with the assistance of church members Melinda Burge, Charlotte Haims, Fran Harris, Susan Moore, Jennifer Spitz, Tracy Tarry, and Mary Ann Weiler.

Pictured here:  Nativity scene in the White Gift Service at The Reformed Church of Bronxville.

Photo courtesy Tracy Tarry

Friends and Residents to Gather at St. Joseph's Church New Year's Eve to Welcome in New Year PDF Print Email

Dec. 24, 2013:  For the last several years, friends and residents have gathered at St. Joseph's Church on New Year's Eve to welcome in the new year with music and song. 

Continuing this tradition, hundreds of people are expected to attend the gathering and concert on Tuesday, December 31, providing a nice alternative to sitting at home or driving far away on a holiday night.

The parish choir, soloists, and orchestra will perform the Oratorio de Noël (the Christmas Oratorio) by Charles-Camille Saint-Saëns. The Wikipedia entry on the oratorio says that it "'is a delightful substitute for endless Messiah performances.' . . . While an organist at Madeleine, Saint-Saëns wrote the oratorio in less than a fortnight, completing it ten days before its premiere on Christmas 1858. The vocal score of this oratorio was prepared later by the composer and organist, Eugene Gigout, a colleague of Saint-Saëns." 

The parish choir, under the direction of John P. Styrbos, is about 40 voices strong and performs regularly throughout the year to great acclaim.

The Christmas Oratorio will begin in the church at 8:00 pm on December 31, followed by a champagne toast. All are invited to this lovely evening of beautiful music to welcome in the new year.

While there is no admission fee, donations toward the music program are appreciated. 

Pictured here:  St. Joseph's Church.

Photo by N. Bower

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day Services for Area Churches PDF Print Email

Dec. 24, 2013: Editor's note: Advent schedules for Bronxville-area churches are posted as they arrive. Listed below in alphabetical order are those currently available.

Christ Church Bronxville

Tuesday, December 24: 3:30 pm -- Family Christmas Eve Crèche Mass, Organ Prelude of Traditional Christmas Carols; 4:00 pm -- Crèche Service

Tuesday, December 24: 10:30 pm -- Christmas Prelude; 11:00 pm -- Solemn Midnight Mass

Sunday, December 25: 10:00 am -- Christmas Day Mass

The Reformed Church of Bronxville

Tuesday, December 24: 4:30 pm -- Children and Family Service

Tuesday, December 24: 5:30 pm -- Village Christmas Pageant

Tuesday, December 24: 7:30 pm -- Candlelight Service

Tuesday, December 24: 11:00 pm -- Service of Lessons and Carols

Wednesday, December 25: 10:00 am -- Christmas Day Service

Village Lutheran Church

Tuesday, December 24: 5:00 pm -- Family Christmas Eve Service

Tuesday, December 24: 8:00 pm -- Candles and Carols with Choirs

Tuesday, December 24: 11:00 pm -- Christmas Eve Communion Service

Wednesday, December 25: 10:00 am -- Christmas Day Communion Service

Saturday, December 28: 5:30 pm -- Communion Service

Saturday, December 28: 6:30 pm -- Prayer Service

Sunday, December 29: 9:00 and 10:45 am -- Total Family Worship with Communion

Tuesday, December 31: 5:30 pm -- New Year's Eve Vespers

Saturday, January 4: 5:30 pm -- Epiphany Worship

Sunday, January 5: 9:00 and 10:45 am -- Epiphany Worship

Sunday, January 5: 5:00 pm -- Undecorating Pizza Party

West Center Congregational Church

Tuesday, December 24: 8:00 pm -- Christmas Eve Candlelight Service

Photo by A. Warner

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