75 Singing Angels

You may see 75 singing Christmas balls, but I see 75 angels dressed in white, making a joyful noise on the branches of a 30-foot-high, illuminated, pre-engineered Christmas tree.
    Riverdale Baptist Church in Largo is celebrating 30 years of the two-hour holiday production The Living Christmas Tree, which includes a full orchestra, light show and heartwarming play that can turn most any Grinch into a mellow fellow just in time for the holidays.
    Originally made from wood, the tree used to be constructed stick by stick. Today the volunteers lay out numbered metal poles and wooden platforms in the order they are to be assembled. No area of the church is too sacred for staging the components. Parts are lined up on the lawn, in the aisles, the lobby and the altar.
    The church’s largest outreach program attracts families from as far away as Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Virginia and Delaware to see and hear its message of hope and joy.
    Choir members climb onto one of the 10 levels of the tree to become singing Christmas balls. No one has ever fallen out of the tree, but one year a power outage left the performance in the dark. With only a dim glow from the emergency exit light, the choir continued to raise their voices in song.

December 9-11; F 7:30pm, Sa 1:30pm & 6pm, Su 1:30pm, Riverdale Baptist Church, Upper Marlboro, $12 w/discounts, rsvp: www.livingtreetickets.com.