Steamboat Springs The search for a Christmas cantata took Ellie Bach to a place where most Americans go for quick information - the Internet.
Bach wanted her Concordia Lutheran Church to perform "Mary Did You Know?" She just didn't how she was going to get copies of the sheet music.
"I couldn't find it," Bach said. "I was looking for it all over."
All Bach could find were links to newspaper articles that had "Mary Did You Know?" in the community holiday announcements.
Then she randomly received a mailing about cantatas, and it included information about ordering "Mary Did You Know?" Bach was ecstatic. The reason behind her tireless effort dates back several years, when she first heard "Mary Did You Know?" Bach loved the music's lyrics and the choir's harmonies, particularly the rich tones of the tenor and alto sections.
In turn, the Concordia Lutheran Church found its Christmas program.
"The music is awesome, and incorporated into the music are favorite Christmas hymns," narrator Bob Krohn said.
A performance of "Mary Did You Know?" is at 7 p.m. today at Concordia Lutheran Church, which is off Amethyst Drive near Steamboat Springs High School.
A cantata - Italian for "song" - is a vocal composition accompanied by instruments and generally containing more than one movement. Tonight's performance is scheduled to last 40 minutes.
"Come in and enjoy the music," Krohn said. "We are going to have a program for people that will include all the words to the music."
Even at an informal Tuesday rehearsal, it was difficult not to sing along from the back row.
The choir members did not rehearse the popular song for which the cantata was named, but they rehearsed for more than two hours in an effort to blend narration with instrumental accompaniment and each other's voices.
Bach was quick with the advice.
"A choir is not lots of ones," she said. "It is one."
No one questions the importance of Christmas to those of the Christian faith. The Dec. 25 holiday celebrates the birth of Christ, and the Concordia Lutheran Church's cantata aims to bring the significance of that historical moment to its congregation and other members of the public.
Today's Christmas cantata is just one of a myriad of services and activities planned for the holiday throughout Routt County. With Christmas Eve falling on a Sunday, many area churches have scheduled candlelight services.
Yampa Bible Church, for one, is having a candlelight service at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 24.
"The candles are a symbol of Christ and Christ shining among all men amidst a dark world," Pastor Bruce Chikalla said.