A few blocks away, First Baptist Church had its own youth and music department, of course. It must have been some mutual friends at school that steered me to their preparations to put on a musical called Celebrate Life.
Turns out they could use me. The show is narrated by the four Gospel writers, and I (of cource) ended up with Mark's lines. I also played guitar in the second number, "Processional."
The company of about twenty to thirty (lots of chorus and some soloists) performed to an accompaniment tape. This was in 1972-1973, and they used a reel-to-reel machine.
After a few performances, we went on the road! We hopped on a bus and went on a performance tour of several towns in the SE USA. We would perform at a Baptist Church; the church members would very graciously put all of us teenagers up for the night in various homes; and we would trundle on to the next stop half a day away. Of course there was an altar call at the end of every performance.
I can't tell you where we went -- my memory books are in the attic -- but we ended up at Nashville's Opryland USA. This was when it was still an amusement park! Then we wended our way home.
A year or two ago I came across a double LP of Celebrate Life! -- evidently from the publisher as a performance example I guess -- but like a doofus I didn't buy it. Shame on me! Still ...
I was thrilled, a month or two ago, to come across several YouTube channels featuring performances. This musical, by Buryl Red and Ragan Courtney, is evidently still important to other people, too!
Through a series of investigations I came across somebody who has access to the album and is willing to share with you.
01. Prelude (Instrumental) (4:34)
02. Processional (1:55)
03. Dialogue (0:42)
04. The Truth Shall Make You Free (4:05)
05. Dialogue - Hail O Blessed One (3:46)
06. Dialogue (0:30)
07. Song of Mary (3:08)
08. There Is a Great Joy Coming (3:41)
09. Dialogue - Hello Baby (4:53)
10. Dialogue - The Three Kings (6:59)
11. After This He Went Journeying (0:30)
12. Dialogue (2:01)
13. I Quietly Turned to You (4:09)
14. Dialogue - After This He Went Journeying (1:08)
15. Dialogue - The Disciples' Prayer (2:35)
16. Dialogue (1:37)
17. In Remembrance (3:50)
18. Dialogue - Carry Him Gently (5:37)
19. Dialogue - He Is Alive - Easter Hymn (6:09)
20. He Is Alive (Reprise) (1:35)
21. Dialogue - Prayer for Peace (2:50)
22. Postlude (Instrumental) (2:02)
So, here is Celebrate Life!
One of my favorite songs of them all is the "Prayer for Peace," but "I Quietly Turned to You" is a heart-tugger, too.
You even have your choice of two variations for the CD packaging art.
So, find some Life and Celebrate it!