Get ready for your blessing, get ready for your miracle
Children dressed in bunny costumes.
By Starla Vaughns Cherin
On the stage of the 109-year-old First Baptist Church Piney Grove, a chicken, a bunny rabbit and a chocolate egg sit on a store shelf surrounded by pastel colored Easter goodies of candy, baskets, colored straw and eggs. When people aren’t around the three come alive and ask the question: “What is everyone so excited about? They keep talking about Mary Magdalene being the first person to see Jesus alive. Why is that important?” the chicken asked The chocolate egg.
The trio look to the books on a shelf to find the answer and are directed to Siri the computerized personal assistant. While they’re looking Xzayvier Rich-Garrett, soloist from the Black-Tunnage Junior Choir sings, “Get ready, for your blessing, God’s Got a blessing for you. Get ready, for your miracle. God’s got a blessing; put your name on it!”
Easter, Siri tells them, Resurrection Sunday is the day Jesus the Son of God is risen after being crucified and buried for our sins as soloist Aiyana Edwards sings Lamb of God.”They sacrificed the Lamb of God. My Jesus, the Lamb of God. He washes me with his precious blood. My Jesus, the Lamb of God.”
Meanwhile, in character Mc-Kayla Raptigan experiences being bullied, wrongly accused, jailed and persecuted much like Jesus. They accuse her of being helpful and loving and stealing a video game from the store.
“I didn’t do it,” she cries. “I didn’t do it. They turned their backs on me. All I can do is pray for them.” The choir sings with soloists Brion Boles and Nazari Dixon, “Our God Is An Awesome God! He reigns forever and ever.”
The Chocolate Egg, played by Sedric Florence, the Chicken played by Tyra Wilkerson, and the Bunny Rabbit played by Isabel Stephens stayed in perfect character throughout with costumes designed by Margie Tukes, accessories by Karen Black while more than 100 children ages 4-13 participated in the Easter celebration show, “He’s Awesome” a play adapted and directed by Vonice Gibbs from Anna Fraser’s “The Egg, Chicken and Bunny”
“He’s Awesome”, is part of the annual concert line up for the Black-Tunnage Junior choir founded in 1964 by Emma Black and renamed in the 90’s to include the name of Mrs. Royetta Tunnage. Today under the direction of Al Parris and Choir Director Minister Breon Williams, Piney Grove’s junior choir boasts 100 members. Their annual concert is scheduled June 8.
“We see the chicken, rabbit and Easter egg got saved along the way,” Piney Grove Pastor Dr. Reverend Derrick J. Hughes said. “Let’s bring out all the children and thank them for a job well done!”
Afterwards the children, parents and audience were treated to an ice cream social sponsored by Circuit Court Judge Group 17 candidate Julie Shapiro Harris, Esq.
The event, coordinated by Karen Black-Barron and her daughter Portia Barron, gave the audience a blessing, a laugh and wonder at the young people who gave their time and energy to bring Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice to the stage.
Bunny Rabbit played by Isabel Stephen said, “We read the script in March, practiced every Saturday and then we added practice days Tuesday and Thursday. So practicing and reciting, we said it and perfected it.”
“We’ve been working with this choir for three generations. For me 20 years and it’s a joy when they are older and you see them in the neighborhood and they remember you. I tell them Facebook a picture when you were younger so I can re-cognize who you are,” Black says. It’s a challenge and a joy and we couldn’t do it without the help of the parents, guardians and grandparents who bring the children to practice and help them at home. Dara and Akilah Gibbs help keep everything together. These kids are very active. It is joy.”
Other ‘He’s Awesome” cast members include Jacarri Florence, Zy”Ontae Malcolm, Camryn Smith, Jabari Wright, Desiree Roberts, Jordan Sharpe, Azaria Peterson, Amira Jones, Vanessa Baptiste, Talia Austin and Jahnya Callwood.