2010-12-24 / Community

First Congregational Hosts Musical Tribute

Families practice the week before the event, during the First Congregational Sunday service. Families practice the week before the event, during the First Congregational Sunday service. It may have been freezing cold outside. But one of the peninsula’s most diverse churches, First Congregational of Rockaway Beach, created warmth inside this past weekend, hosting a joyous children’s musical tribute to the rituals of various religious and ethnic traditions. All from the community were invited to participate. Young people of all ages, family members, and invited artistic guests sang, danced, read stories, banged drums and other percussion instruments, and generally, raised a ruckus to celebrate winter!

A colorful Hubei fan dance was performed by Leslie Miller, who also spoke about the upcoming Chinese New Year. Master Ivory Coast drummer Justin Kafando electrified the audience, as he accompanied dancer Persephone DaCosta of Batingua Arts and her adorable daughter, both wearing traditional West African costumes. The whole audience was invited to join in for a dance, and many did! Teens Kerone Brown and Kim Sachs told about the traditions of Kwanzaa and Chanukah. Taj and Trish Johnson of First Congregational played the piano and violin, and local troupe “Dancers on Fire” showed their stuff, as well. Even the tiniest participants sang holiday folk songs in Spanish, Swedish and Finnish, under the direction of Rebekkah Rodriguez-Thompson and Kelly Sessoms-Newton.

Children play percussion instruments and sing in Spanish. Children play percussion instruments and sing in Spanish. The potluck shared afterwards was both “naughty and nice” — featuring plentiful fresh salads and fruits, as well as traditional winter favorites like macaroni and cheese, rice and beans, Swedish meatballs, pulled pork and barbecued chicken. Photos by Vivian Rattay Carter.

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