Here we are, in September...I can't believe it's almost time to start the Christmas Program!!!! Usually, I begin rehearsals in October, if not before, depending on what our program consists of.
If you have directed plays before, you know how much work it is! LOL But...oh, so rewarding! :D I wanted to touch on a few different things having to do with the program this week, and hopefully, it will help you get started with your plan.
First of all, if you've never delved into being a Christmas Musical Director...you are missing out! Yes, it's work, but it is so much fun! To help the children, youth, or even adults become the characters you have chosen them to be...see things unfolding throughout those couple months...and then see the final project. It's by far my favorite time of year!
Let's dive into a few aspects of this process...but make sure to stick around until the end! I have some fun things to share. :D
Start early!!!!! Lots of us tend to get in our head, "But it's just the end of summer!!!!" Well, yes, but you'll find that everything takes time! And usually more time than you figured! Choose your play/musical/program materials in plenty of time to account for shipping, and then the time it will take you to prepare for your first rehearsal. I'd say you need at LEAST 2 weeks to prepare everything, and a week before that for shipping. Unless, of course, if you don't have a job or a family or a ministry besides the Christmas program. LOL
Auditions....are they necessary? Yes...and no! We have done both, and I revisit it each year to decide what the year will entail. Here's how I decide... If I have lots of new children that I am not sure of their capabilities, then I will hold "simple" auditions. If I have a lot of the same children as the year before, and I know what they are able to accomplish, I will usually NOT hold auditions because I can decide who should be which character....AND I make sure to choose different ones than the year before. NOTE on Auditions: If I need auditions, then I will print a short portion of speaking parts and choose a solo song if the character has a solo. I make it very casual, and explain that I just want to know what they are capable of...that the audition doesn't need to be perfect.
If NOT holding auditions, I will use a sign up sheet. How does this work? Very simply! I will have a Children's Service/Class, etc. that we watch the Christmas play performance video (either comes with the program or I find it on YouTube). The children watch it, and see characters that they would like to be. I will then present a sign up sheet at the end, and allow them to sign up for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd choice parts...including solos, movement team, etc.
Presenting who gets what part... This can be a hard time! If you have lots of children that wanted a part but are not chosen for the ones they wanted, you will have sad children...always! So, I make this very fun. First of all, we will have another "class" time that we play games and tell them who got what part. We've done it a number of ways, but one is to use hangman. We write on the board something like "Chad will be Joseph"...or something on that order. Of course, only "writing" the blank spaces and letting the children guess letters. I also make sure to have a little "talk" before giving out parts. I let them know that they are all special and important to the musical itself. And even if they didn't get a speaking part, they will have something to do; whether it's on the movement team, singing a solo, helping with props, or just singing nice and loudly in the choir! Each child is important, and they need to be made to feel that they are.
I could go on and on about preparing and directing the Christmas Program....because of this, I have made something for you. :D I am so excited about it!!!
>>> FIRST, I am going to share a little FREE eBook I wrote about Christmas Programming options and how to choose them. I share pictures of some of our performances, links where I find my materials, and more. So grab your copy here!
>>> And SECONDLY, I am elated to tell you I have accomplished one of my goals for 2021!!!! YEEEESSSSS!!!!!
I have officially published my first Children's Ministry Training Course on Teachable! This course is to walk you step-by-step through the process of Christmas Programming. I've included worksheets, checklists, schedules, and more.
If you are serious about wanting to direct a program, this course is for you.
You can check out Christmas Programming 1-2-3- Go! below.
If you have any issues with either, or have any questions whatsoever, please feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org .
>>> LASTLY, I wanted to share last year's Christmas Musical from our church. The videography isn't perfect, but we just did it ourselves. LOL Enjoy!
I can't wait to hear back from you about your Christmas Programming.
Sara Vojtasek & Joel's Vision Ministries