Away in a Manger

Scenes of Bethlehem from back in the day could be seen on display in various depictions and from around the world at the 2013 Nativity and Music Celebration at Bishop Ryan Catholic School this past weekend.

Nativity scenes were on display Saturday from 3:30 to 7:30 p.m. and on Sunday from 12 to 3 p.m. On Sunday there was also a rustic dinner and a Christmas concert at 3:30. The event was free to the public, but tickets for the dinner were available for $10 for adults and $5 for students age 12 and younger.

The Nativity and Music Celebration event started many years ago when Tenley Johnson was the band director at Bishop Ryan Catholic School and a group of mothers got together, said Jaimie Brunner, marketing and enrollment director at Bishop Ryan Catholic School. “They wanted an event that combined Christmas and music, like a reason for the season event,” she added.

Scenes of the nativity, of which were numerous, were loaned to the event for the weekend. There were about 20 displayers, Brunner said. People brought the scenes in on Friday and took them home on Sunday. “We have people who display each year,” she added.

New to the event this year was the addition of another day and the rustic dinner. Brunner said they used to have the nativity scenes set up on one side of the gymnasium and musical acts were on the other end. “This year it’s a two-day event,” she added. “It gives it a big concert wrap-up,” after different student ensembles, choirs and the band performed. Voices of Note performed during the rustic dinner.

Brunner said they wanted something different at the dinner and on the menu was roast beef bourguignon over brown butter noodles, along with bread, salad and cupcakes. There was also a Christmas spritzer drink served in fancy glasses, she added, for people who wanted to make a toast. For those who were not so sure about the French-style cuisine, Brunner said spaghetti was also offered.

Attendance for the event is dependent on the weather, but usually it’s well-attended, Brunner said. “It raises curiosity with this many nativity scenes, ones that are from around the world and quirky to look at,” she added.

The Nativity and Music Celebration is done each year as a way to say thank you and Merry Christmas to the community, Brunner said. No one was doing an event like it, either, she added. “Plus, we had a lot of people who had nativity scenes,” Brunner continued. Usually, the event is held during the first week of Advent as a welcome to Christmas, she said, but this year it fell on the second week since Thanksgiving was a week later than usual. “This is built around what this school is centered on and that’s what makes it special,” she added. “It’s special and lets you share your faith with everyone during Christmas.”

Kids typically like to see the different shapes and sizes of the nativity scenes, Brunner said. Other people like to see how different cultures depict the nativity, she added. “It’s neat to see how some just include Mary and Jesus, and others have a whole surrounding village.”