Lunenburg County Community Christmas Concert

Published 12:30 pm Wednesday, December 5, 2018

For a number of years, Christmas music filled Victoria’s Uptown Coffee Café on two Fridays in December. The popular duo of Liz Hamlett and Rob Williams and the trio of Beth Bagley, J.B. Crenshaw and Cathy Gatling performed 2 hour sets there each year. When Uptown Coffee closed in 2017 the two groups found a new venue. The people of Victoria Baptist Church offered its large sanctuary and wonderful sound system for the groups to share their music with the community. Surrounded by evergreens and candles, poinsettias, and a tall tree decorated with Chrismons (white and gold ornaments in designs described as “Christ’s monograms,”) the setting and the songs captured the beauty of the Christmas season. The evening was so well-received by those in attendance that the church has continued to host concerts for the community on a seasonal basis.

On Friday, Dec. 14, Victoria Baptist Church will host the fifth in the series of Lunenburg County Community Concerts. The evening’s entertainment will begin at 6:40 p.m. with pre-concert music provided by pianist Stacy Sharpe Branch. At 7p.m. the concert will commence with a variety of musicians and singers who will share sacred and secular Christmas songs. Joining the two groups from last year will be guitarist and singer Jenny Martin Clark and Victoria Baptist’s own gospel music group, The Reflections of Hope, featuring special solos by Johnnie W. Brame, Cindy Foley, Mooch Johnson and Tammy Williams.

Hamlett is well-known to audiences around Southside Virginia. She has performed in churches, at community events, and onstage in numerous productions at the Colonial Theater in South Hill. She and Rob share a crowd-pleasing blend of solos and duets.

Bagley, Crenshaw and Gatling bring guitars and voices together to share their versions of popular songs and carols, as well as some original songs by both Crenshaw and Bagley’s husband, Eldridge Bagley. Beth leads worship twice a month at Victoria Baptist Church, Crenshaw is the pastor of Bethel Christian Church, and Gatling leads and sings in the choir at Victoria United Methodist Church.

Jenny grew up in Kenbridge and began singing and playing piano at an early age. When she was eight, her mother started taking classical guitar lessons at SVCC and shared her newfound love of the guitar with Jenny and her brother. While in college, she began playing at Thursday night worship services, learning new techniques from other musicians. She gravitates toward songs with simple, but poignant, lyrics and has been inspired by folk musicians Nancy Griffith, Kathy Mattea, James Taylor and Dan Fogelberg. She enjoys playing in churches and sharing songs of faith, hope and love.

The Reflections of Hope is a contemporary Christian singing group from Victoria Baptist Church. They first formed in 2001 to bring a ministry of music to the church and community. Their mission is to bring hope to those who are lost and reflect that hope in their singing. Current members include: Foley, Wanda Whittaker, Susan Bishop, Tammy, Diane Clark, Brame and Johnson.

In case of inclement weather, the concert will take place Friday, Dec. 21.

Victoria Baptist Church is located at the intersection of Eighth Street and Washington Avenue. Handicapped parking is available near the side entrance, as is elevator access to the sanctuary level. For more information visit the Facebook page of Lunenburg County Community Concerts or call (434) 696-2025.