Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus. blog comments powered by Disqus Best New Children's Choir Christmas Musical!

Bethlehem or Bust! Can Be Performed by Any Size Church!!!

In June 2011 we shot a live video performance of Bethlehem or Bust! at Church of Christ @ the Colonies in Amarillo, Texas, with a cast of 36 kids. We used very simple costumes with face painting to accent the characters. This works quite well. Some of the characters played two parts. I am excited to tell you that large and small churches alike can perform this musical. Also, we had a variety of ages in the musical-kindergarten through high school, with one adult. At the premiere performance in Orlando in January 2011, we had a large church choir from First Baptist, Eustis, Florida, with elaborate costumes! That works, too. Also, younger children can play the leading roles as well as older children. I must say that after producing over 40 musicals for churches, even though I helped write this musical, it was more fun than any musical I’ve been involved with. It is funny-Martha Bolton’s humor is the best-fast-moving and non-boring with plenty of delightful solos and ensembles for children. The tracks are delightful and creative-Ted Wilson is one of the best arrangers in the business. The songs are well-written and easy for children to sing and memorize-Andy Cundiff is a gifted writer. Also, the message is a powerful one that the children will never forget-even though this is a Christmas musical it can be performed any time of the year! We did it in June!!!

CONSIDER USING BETHLEHEM OR BUST! AS A FAMILY MUSICAL.

If you need any assistance in figuring out how your church can best perform this musical, we stand ready to help.

More next time!!!

Darrell Bledsoe
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Think Outside the Box

Those of you who cast church drama know how easy it is to fall into the habit of depending on your “tried and true” performers--those actors or singers who’ve starred in every production you’ve ever done, turned in a stellar performance, or whose dad built sets or whose mother stitched costumes.  But before you cast all the roles in your holiday musical, there are a few things you might want to consider.  By looking beyond the obvious, you could find a hidden gem just waiting to be polished.  Each of us have seen some very memorable performances come from that boy or girl, man or woman, who never performed before, but secretly always wanted to.  So don’t be afraid to take a chance on a new face in your musical; you just might change someone’s life forever.  Unlike in Ned’s world, the spotlight is always big enough for one or two or even more new faces.

Martha Bolton
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Move It, Groove It

About a month ago our church hosted a multicultural VBS, using “Hometown Nazareth” from Group Publishing as our theme. Like many VBS packages, it included activities, production suggestions, songs and videos. It was quite a production for our small church! But the thing that struck me as being a little too ambitious was that they not only expected the kids to learn the songs, but also to learn some choreography to go along with them.

It was quite a miracle to see how all those kids picked up on the songs and the movements-especially the ones who knew very little English. It seemed that it really added meaning for them to involve their whole bodies in the songs. It certainly did for the adults! And it seemed to also help them learn the songs more quickly, as if each movement was a memory hook in itself.

When you begin to learn the music for your Christmas musical this year, I encourage learning music and movement at the same time. Each feeds the other, and each adds meaning to the other. Children have boundless energy, and it has to be released, so why not direct it toward the same praise that they’re expressing with their voices? If you feel like the written choreography is too hard for your choir, feel free to simplify it. Just make sure you give them the chance to move, to praise God with their whole bodies. It’s also a unique gift that the children’s choir can give to the congregation.

Ted Wilson
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Singing with Confidence

Modeling—having children who have strong voices sit with those who have not discovered their vocal ability is a good tool to help children sing with confidence. Moving children around to different seats on a continuous basis helps keep them from becoming self-conscious. High praise is given for the smallest improvement. Our goal is that each student sing in tune by the age of 10. Good diction, posture, tone and pitch are important, but my greatest goal is to teach children to sing with abandon without being inhibited and to get God’s message in their hearts. More next time!
 
Darrell Bledsoe



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Wired to Write?

I love church drama.  It can set up a sermon, enhance a sermon, or be a sermon. There are so many ways to use the dramatic arts in a church, youth or children's church setting. The themes, occasions, and ideas are endless. So if you've ever thought of writing church drama, we want to encourage you to give it a try!
 
I began writing Christian drama while I was working as a church secretary. My pastor asked if I would direct the Easter play one year, and I enthusiastically said "Yes!" I didn't know the first thing about writing and directing plays, but I've always enjoyed working out of my comfort zone. There's an excitement that comes with that kind of pressure.
 
The first step was to find the right play or musical. Back then, there wasn't much on the market.  Many of the plays had a "dated" feel to them. When I told my pastor I was having trouble finding one, he suggested I write one myself. I did, and I absolutely loved the process! In my heart I knew I had found my gift. I couldn't sing or play a musical instrument, but I loved writing.
 
Sometimes you have to move out of your comfort zone to discover what you're supposed to do in life. I was internally wired to be a writer. I know that now. After decades of writing comedy sketches, Christmas and Easter plays, musicals, variety show scripts and screenplays, I'm glad my comfort zone didn't remain my permanent address. 
 
Are you internally wired to be a writer? A musician?  A children's choir director? Are you ready to step out of your comfort zone?  Stay tuned for tips and more on how to nurture that gift that God put inside you. Our team is eager to share what we've learned in the trenches while working with children's choirs and church drama teams, and the joy we've discovered there, too.
 
Martha Bolton
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Bringing Out the Best in Our Children

After working with children’s choirs all over the world for over 40 years, I have discovered that one of the ways to get children to do their best in singing is to be an encourager. I’m not talking about flattery, but always having some encouraging words to say. Often in this world we live in today, many children are not given the encouragement they need.  Since our goal in teaching children is to bring out the best in them musically, spiritually and individually, it is good to start with encouragement  and end with positive reinforcement sandwiched with energetic teaching.
 
More next time!
 
Darrell Bledsoe
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Performance in Amarillo!

Here’s a little blurb that appeared on “Today in Amarillo” just before the performance of Bethlehem or Bust! by the children’s choir at Church of Christ at the Colonies, in Amarillo Texas in June. It features a little of the dialogue from the musical, which was directed by our own Darrell Bledsoe.

It may seem a little odd to be performing a Christmas musical in June, but Christmas events in summer are becoming popular across the country. Add to that the number of terrific Christmas musicals available (including our own Bethlehem or Bust! of course!), and the fact that kids have more time available to rehearse during the summer, and it can be a winning combination. Or how about as the theme of your next summer music camp?
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Welcome!

On behalf of Bravo Music and Bravo Kids, welcome to our site! Many of you have purchased our musical, and to you we extend our gratitude. We’re very proud of our musical, of course, and it’s always a wonderful feeling for others to think so, too. Plus, we had a great time working together and want to do much, much more. If you’re still looking for a musical to perform with your children’s choir this Christmas, we hope you’ll consider Bethlehem or Bust! If not, we hope you’ll be a regular visitor here, because we’ll be sharing ideas for costuming, staging, rehearsing and even surviving. And we hope these ideas will help you no matter which musical you’ve chosen to present. And if you have something to share, please feel free to fill out the contact form here, and send us a message, and we’ll try to include it on our blog. Or you can cruise to our Facebook page here, click “like,” and type in a message on our wall. Well, maybe amble is a better word, since none of our animals would have the slightest idea about cruising, jetting, or even surfing.

May God bless you and your children’s ministry richly!

Darrell Bledsoe, Martha Bolton, Andy Chase and Ted Wilson
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