The 20th anniversary of Hometown Christmas is being put on by Maple Ridge Alliance Church. (Contributed)

Dazzling light show backdrop for Hometown Christmas in Maple Ridge

The 20th anniversary of Maple Ridge Alliance production about the true meaning of Christmas

A dazzling display of lights set to music will provide a spectacular backdrop for the 20th anniversary of the production of Hometown Christmas, put on by Maple Ridge Alliance Church.

More than 10,000 lights will be hooked up to 256 controls that will enable them to change in time to the music.

And high above the set of Victorian-era storefronts, including an inn, a toy store and a bank, will be a starry sky from which clouds will pass and snow will fall.

Hometown Christmas explains the true meaning of Christmas following the lives of those who live in the village of Hometown.

Every year there is a different script written by Pastor Greg Dalman. This year’s production takes place in a modern setting.

The story follows a group of people who return to Hometown for a reunion. One couple, though, forgets to make a reservation at the hotel. Their names are Mary and Jo.

Jo’s father owns all the buildings in the town and he has returned to make sure all is well. But, Mary is pregnant and now they have no place to stay.

In addition, there is a new banker in town who is putting extra demands on all the businesses at Christmas time, ignoring the town’s motto, People Matter, It’s Not Just Business.

“It tells the Christmas story in little snippets all the way along,” explained Dalman.

There is music interjected into the drama. Two songs are performed by the 40-member Junior Praise Choir, made up of children in Grades 1 to 6, and 10 songs by the 30-voice choir, who make up the villagers who have returned home for the reunion.

“So as the story unfolds, there is one fellow who is the hotel owner, who represents the inn keeper of the past, who sort of is not really into Christmas,” explained Dalman.

“He is doing the politically correct thing of Happy Holidays and Christmas is all unfolding and everything about Mary and Jo suddenly relates to the various elements of the Christmas story being told,” he continued.

The show will also feature live animals, such as the use of llamas as camels when the three wise men arrive.

Dalman started preparing for this year’s performance in August, when he began listening to possible music choices. He wrote the script in September.

Dalman and the church are thankful they have been able to put on Hometown Christmas for the past 20 years.

“I would say that each year we have a large number of people who have seen it for the first time along with a bunch of other people who have returned,” he said, estimating that between 10,000 and 15,000 people from Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows have seen the production over the past two decades.

“So it’s actually touched a lot [of people],” said Dalman.

Between 170 to 175 people are involved in the production every year in what Dalman says is a whole church, team effort.

There will be seven performances of Hometown Christmas.

The show runs Dec. 10 at 3:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., Dec. 14, 15 and 16 at 7:30 p.m. and at 3:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Dec 17.

Tickets are free and must be picked up at the church at 20399 Dewdney Trunk Rd. in Maple Ridge.

There will be a comedic half hour pre-show. After the evening shows only there will be hot apple cider.

• For more information call 604-465-5717 or go to mralliance.ca.

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