Christmas show puts crowd in the spirit of the season

Published 12:05 pm Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Family entertainment at it’s finest flowed through the Ethel May Brownstone Performing Arts Center on Pearl River Community College Campus in Poplarville on Thursday night, Dec. 4.

Patrons, as well as family and friends of the entertainers, filled the auditorium with their own brand of cheer. It certainly looked a lot like Christmas with many decked out in their holiday finery. Greetings filled the air as folks shared their excitement and anticipation for the event to come.

According to Rick Chatham of Hattiesburg, “My daughter, Sarah performs with The Voices. My children were participating in two events tonight. I’m here in support of Sarah, while my wife is attending a musical event at Lamar Christian, where our two other daughters are singing.”

Shawn Betbeze, a Poplarville High School teacher, said, “I’m just here to enjoy the music. I know students that will be performing.”

After a moving rendition of “Joy To The World,” Betbeze added, “I love living in an area that still celebrates the true meaning of Christmas.”

The Pearl River Community College Guitar Ensemble, under the direction of Trevor Hunt, fittingly began the evening with “Away In A Manger,” followed by “Once In Royal David’s City.” Their set of classic tunes set the bar high for the other performers, and none disappointed.

As the curtain opened, the energetic and talented students promptly sang and danced their way into the hearts of the audience.

Holiday favorites of yesteryear as well as some newer tunes were impeccably performed by the student show choir, The Voices. Young and old alike could relate to something in the varied program. From “Jingle Bells” and “Frosty the Snowman,” for the child in everyone, to “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” and “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” for those with a slightly more adult palate, the music flowed like a sparkling fountain.

PRCC’s dance group, the String of Pearls, lit up the stage in beautiful costumes dancing to “It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” and “Santa’s In Town.”

Mallory Cumberland, a sophomore at PRCC, crooned her rendition of “Santa Baby” to the crowd, which responded with appreciation. Applause rose to a crescendo as she left center stage.

The Hot Chocolate Dancers, choreographed by Austin Holder and Micah Eastridge, were another crowd pleaser with their sharp, crisp performance complete with silver serving trays swirling in the air.

PRCC’s JazzCats, under the direction of Archie Rawls and Michael Bass, kept the music coming with their accompaniment as well as stand-out instrumentals.

“Joy to the World” and “Go Tell It On the Mountain” reminded all of why Christmas is such a celebration. The costumes, music, dancing, singing and narration all worked together to help the audience remember what Christmas truly means.

Holiday Pops, presented by the Fine Arts and Communication Department, was a resounding success, if the reaction of the audience is any indication. The acoustics at the Brownstone are state of the art, and the full house showed its appreciation, standing with a declaration of delight.

Tickets are available now for the Dec. 20, 7 p.m., and 21, 2:30 p.m., performances of “The Nutcracker.” Orchestra seating is $15, with balcony seats $10. Tickets can be purchased by calling the Brownstone Center’s box office at 601-403-1180 or online at