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Curtain Rises: Good night for ‘Twelfth Night’ as music videos continue tradition at Christ Lutheran Church, Allentown

It’s one of the toughest tickets in town.

For 38 years, the “Twelfth Night Festival” at Christ Lutheran Church, Allentown, has been held in January at the time of Epiphany.

The 1 and 1/2-hour festival transforms the church near 12th and Hamilton streets into a medieval castle, complete with a musical pageant of ladies and lords, kings, jesters, Beefeaters, servants, hunters and saints, as well as a spectacular boar’s head, stuffed peacock and trumpeter swan.

At the center of it all is the baby Jesus, illuminated from beneath, lying in a crude manger.

The 2,000 available tickets always go quickly.

Unfortunately this year, as with many events, the festival had to be canceled because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic shutdown.

However, Christ Lutheran Church is partnering with First Presbyterian Church, Allentown, to celebrate “Twelfth Night” online.

New “Twelfth Night” music videos are being posted daily through Jan. 6 on YouTube. The event culminates with a virtual performance Jan. 6 of “God So Loved The World.”

The festival’s roots are from the religious celebration of Epiphany Jan. 6, the 12th day after Christmas when the three kings are said to have paid homage to the baby Jesus.

The pageant at Christ Lutheran Church was begun by the late Eleanor D. Kramp, wife of the church’s former pastor, who saw a “Twelfth Night” pageant at a suburban Philadelphia church. The performance is dedicated to her memory.

The festival typically includes hundreds of volunteer cast members from the congregation and community, including Allen High School dancers and the City of Bethlehem Bagpipe Band.

Information: www.youtube.com/channel/UCPvsORfKfmoxpjK5zqWHbWw

Kim Sledge “live” from Bucks County Playhouse:

Singer Kim Sledge, a member of Sister Sledge, one of the most iconic music groups of the disco era, presents a new virtual holiday concert recorded live at Bucks County Playhouse, New Hope, available on demand on the streaming platform Stellar through Jan. 1.

“Kim Sledge: Home for the Holidays - Live from Bucks County Playhouse” stars the performer who was one of the original members of Sister Sledge, the internationally-renowned Philadelphia-based group best-known for the hit song “We Are Family.”

Sledge, who lives in Bucks County, performs inspirational and traditional holiday songs, including “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” “Joy to the World,” “Emanuel” and “Rise and Shine,” accompanied by her band, directed by Drew Wutke.

Sister Sledge, formed in 1971 by sisters Kim, Debbie, Joni and Kathy Sledge, achieved international success in the disco era. In 1979, the sisters released their breakthrough album, “We Are Family,” which peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 and included the 1979 Top 10 singles “He’s the Greatest Dancer” and the title song.

“We Are Family” was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in honor of its lasting cultural and historical significance.

Sister Sledge is just one highlight in the creative career of Kim Sledge, who has spent decades exploring her faith and inspiration through her art. Sledge has a new children’s book, “Jul & Dre,” part of a six-book series for children.

Earlier this year, The World Health Organization announced a partnership with Sledge and The World We Want Foundation to recreate a “unity anthem” of the song, “We Are Family,” to focus attention on global health amid the pandemic.

Information: stellartickets.com; BucksCountyPlayhouse.org

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO COURTESY CHRIST LUTHERAN CHURCH After nearly 40 years, the “Twelfth Night Festival,” Christ Lutheran Church, Allentown, cannot be presented because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic restrictions.
CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BUCKS COUNTY PLAYHOUSE “Kim Sledge: Home for the Holidays - Live from Bucks County Playhouse,” streaming through Jan. 1.