ARMA — Southeast Kansas musicians have come together to prepare a Christmas cantata for all to hear.
The Arma Community Choir will present its 2018 Christmas Service at 6 p.m., Dec. 2, at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Arma. The event is free and open to the public.
Approximately 32 singers singers and musicians will present the cantata is entitled “Christmas Presence,” by Pepper Choplin.  
According to a release, “Christmas Presence” tells a Christmas story about bringing “hope, peace and love to a world in need,” Doue said.
“This beautiful music and reflection provides us with a gentle reminder of why we do this each year,” Doue said in the release. “The choir and orchestra have put a great deal of time and energy into preparing for their performance, everyone will be touched by it. No one will leave disappointed.”
The orchestra is made up of Linda Roberts, piano, Norma Hiatt, violin, Daniel Munguia, cello, Andrea Dinkel, flute, Dr. Carol Deats, horn, Lucas Warford, trombone, Trey Wadell, trumpet and Michael Brewer, percussion. Featured soloists are Lori Lavery, Dr. Adam Paoni, Karrie Fenech, and Kyle Kleiner. Narrators will be Pat Westhoff and Karen Bedene.
Choir member, Juanita Phillips, of Pittsburg, has been in the choir since it began decades ago. She echoed Doue’s thoughts.
“There is something really fulfilling about it, it not only helps the community but you get acquainted and make new friends and enlarge your world,” she said.
Although the choir came together to bring music and holiday cheer, they also came together for a cause. Free will donations will be collected to create Christmas baskets for 40 families in need. The children and their families are selected through school counselors.
“It started as the celebration of the birth of Christ, then years later it was decided to allow free will offering to go to Christmas baskets to those in need in the community,” Cantata Planning Committee Co-Chair Linda Roberts said.
Roberts said they want to give people in need a brighter, safe and happy Christmas.
The monetary donations will be used to purchase food, toiletries, clothing items, toothbrushes, toothpaste, socks, gloves and more for the families. Each child will receive clothing.
“We hope everyone in Arma and the surrounding communities will help us celebrate the season and support this worthy cause,” Choir Conductor Michael Doue said.
— Stephanie Potter is a staff writer at the Morning Sun. She can be emailed at spotter@morningsun.net or follow her on Twitter @PittStephP and Instagram @stephanie_morningsun.