Cantata draws crowds for religious service

The Old Home Week Cantata, ‘The Torch is Passed’, brought together vocalists from Greencastle and farther away.

Teresa Rhoades undoubtably traveled the farthest to sing in the Old Home Week Cantata Sunday night. On furlough from working with a tribal language group in Indonesia, she was delighted to find out the community worship service fell during her break. She welcomed the chance to sing more traditional songs compared to the chants of the southeast Asian peoples.

"I wanted to get into real music," said Rhoades, 62. "I loved the Cantata."

Mary Ellen Piper, 69, made it to the 5 p.m. and 7:45 p.m. performances, though she and her husband left Dillsburg at 4:15 p.m. following a concert there. Participating for the second time, she said, "I love to sing and this is a wonderful way to praise God. I want to be part of the OHW celebration."

With vocalists numbering 112, including 22 children in the youth choir, 'The Torch is Passed' was presented to capacity crowds in the Greencastle-Antrim High School auditorium. Niki Kauffman directed the 36-piece orchestra.

The people involved in the show enjoyed the experience as much as the audience. Greencastle native Natalie Knight, 40, sang for the first time. "I thought it would be really fun."

"It is fun," Doug Wilson, 54, agreed. "You meet new people you wouldn't otherwise, and sing with really talented people."

His brother Allan, 57, credited Kauffman with doing an excellent job taking over from former director Dick Besecker, and also found personal satisfaction. "It's what I do to contribute to OHW, this and the pageant."

Greg Kane, 51, Chambersburg, played accoustic guitar "because I was asked." He enjoyed being part of the service, but was surprised to find the musical score was 68 pages.

The youngsters also were glad they sang, with their group directed by Mandy Stottlemyer and Saundra Wingert. They performed 'The Perfect 10' about the Ten Commandments.

"I like to sing and get in front of people," said Elizabeth McKeever, 10. "I didn't have any stage fright." She also sang in the 2007 cantata.

Sarah Douglas, 9, expressed a similar love of singing. "It is one of my favorite things to do."

The response from the audience was warm, with a standing ovation marking the end of the service. During a salute to the Armed Forces, veterans stood as the anthem to their military branch was sung, and met rousing applause.

Vernon Myers thought the show was "pretty good" and he attended because his wife Jenny was in the choir. Elsie Secrest found the service "fantastic. It was very professional and a lot of work went into it."

Bev and Paul Rebok concurred that all of the musicians did a great job. "There was nothing I didn't like," said Bev.

Aaron Ziebarth narrated the cantata, which traced the history of people's relationship with God when the torch of faith is passed from one generation to the next.

Wingert and Ken Shockey provided music for the piano prelude prior to each performance.

A children’s choir presented another religious selection during the Cantata.