Following the resounding success of the “风华再现” or “Reminiscing The Golden Oldies” concert in August 2009, featuring performances of evergreen oldies, the Dialect Church has taken on and overcome the greatest challenge yet. On 8 February 2009, the Dialect Church held its inaugural musical, “爱无限” or “Unconditional Love.” Featuring an original script by Justin Chiang, one of the ministry’s back-up vocalist, what started as an impossible dream grew into the biggest highlight of the Dialect Church to date.
A whopping 824 people attended, far beyond the weekly average of 520. The musical proved to be a big hit with the elderly, with a total of 40 salvations. The musical touched on a topic close to everyone’s hearts — the family reunion dinner. There was much laughter and tears as the captivated audience empathized with the feelings of Ah Gong when he longed for his family to spend their reunion dinner together but was repeatedly disappointed.
Chiang, who also took on the role of director despite having no prior experience, said, “I drew some emotional pointers from my own grandfather who was seriously let down during one Chinese New Year. As Chinese, we were brought up with the tradition of respecting the elders, and this is what the season is all about.”
“Many times, when the children grow up and have their own families, they would spare the hassel and just have a small reunion dinner on their own. But to an elderly, that is the only time they hope to see their loved ones and extended families coming together. No effort should be spared to make this possible.”
Having such a large-scale event was definitely not without challenges. Firstly, there was a lack of manpower. Gathering a dedicated team of volunteers from various ministries such as the choir, the lighting and audio team, backstage and camera crew, almost everyone had to take on dual roles. In fact, many of the volunteers took to the stage as actors, dancers and even technical and backstage crew for the first time in their lives. The five months of preparation did not go to waste, as every individual shone impressively.
|PHOTOS: Wendell Wee|
Zone Supervisor Jonathan Goh, who oversees the Dialect Church service, was very pleased with the final result. “It was a great musical put up by a group of enthusiastic performers. It brought laughter and much warmth to the hearts of the audience. The musical reflected the longing of the elderly for family love and prepared their hearts for God’s Word,” said Jonathan.
The success of the musical hints at the start of greater things to come for the Dialect Church in the Year of the Ox. Chiang said, “This musical is not just a play to spread our love to the elderly, but it also acts as a tool to pass the message to the young, of honoring the elderly and holding them as precious treasure in our lives.”
“With discussion of another concert underway, we hope to see a greater manifestation of Christ’s love to the elderly congregation.”