Villagers, Voice of Little Mermaid among those to be featured in concert of ‘Hope’

Hope comes to Fruitland Park next week as the Lampstand Community Choir, under the direction of renowned composer and arranger Derric Johnson, performs Hope, The True Story of Love and Triumph. There are two chances to see this popular Easter season event with an afternoon performance at 3 pm and and evening performance at 7 p.m.; both will take place March 19 at New Life Presbyterian Church, located of off U.S. Hwy. 27/441 at  201 La Villa.

This is New Life’s third year of hosting this event, but the 130 member choir presenting the concert is comprised of singers from all over the community. Performers auditioned last August for a chance to take part in the program, so next week’s audiences can enjoy a choir with members from from many other local congregations and denominations.

The choir rehearses for the upcoming concert.
The choir rehearses for the upcoming concert.

This annual production began three years ago, through the impetus of John Kimer, New Life’s Coordinator of Worship and Music. Kimer says he was inspired by EPCOT’s Candlelight Processional held during the Christmas season each year. He’d been participating in the Processional since 1993. “The story of Christmas tells of the birth of Jesus. In the secular world, it’s a little different; they keep baby Jesus in the manger and it’s safe. But theres more to the story of Christ. I wanted to do the sequel. I had this dream of bringing Derric Johnson, the original creator and arranger of the Processional, and bringing the Voice of Liberty, who are amazing. So I contacted Derric Johnson and asked him to meet with me and he said yes. I said i want to tell the rest of the story and he said okay. I said i want you to have all the music, I want you to arrange it. I want the Voices of Liberty, and he said well if they’re not at Disney, they’re called The Liberty Voices. So I said okay, I want the Liberty Voices. We put everything together. Derric wrote he narration, had it all prepared and we did our first performance just three years ago.”

Jodi Benson at New Life Presbyterian Church.
Jodi Benson at New Life Presbyterian Church at last year’s event.

Their second year, they were blessed with the addition of Jodi Benson, who is the voice of The Little Mermaid.

Kevin Miles
Kevin Miles

Kevin Miles is the special guest narrator this year. While you may not know his name, you’ll recognize him as soon as you hear him. Miles sang with the Voices of Lib for years, but he’s most widely known as the Voice of Disney.

The membership of The Lampstand Choir is diverse in age and experience. Seventeen-year-old Andre Keegan joined after being part of Kimer’s ministries.The young tenor appreciates how Kimer’s passion to bring this program it to our area of florida so people could get the same experience they get at the EPCOT Processional, but on a more spiritual level without having to pay for travel and park admission.

Caolyn Korpics, who lives in the Village of Dunedin, heard from her friend Sandy Capelli about the opportunity to sing in this program. The two are choir members at Village View Community Church in Summerfield. They were both excited about the opportunity sing under the direction of Derric Johnson. While Capelli didn’t start singing until adulthood, Korpics has been singing since childhood and sang with the Sweet Adelines.

The Hope concert is a free event, but anyone planning to attend must reserve a ticket before hand.  “Our heart is to not only just tell the story, but to give opportunity to people to really reflect on who Jesus is. Is he everything he said he was? Is he really God?,” Kimer said. “I believe he is because I know he is personally for me, but I want other people to have that opportunity to experience that.”

Hope, The True Story of Love and Triumph will be performed Saturday, March 19 at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. at New Life Presbyterian Church in Fruitland Park. Tickets are free can and be reserved online HERE

(https://www.eventbrite.com/e/hope-the-true-story-of-love-and-triumph-tickets-22238136866?aff=ebrowse).