Shining the way ‘With Freedom’s Holy Light’


Unity will once again be the theme for what is quickly becoming a Veterans Day tradition at a Seymour church.

“We hope that this musical challenges our country to unite on the things we have in common and not dwell on the things that separate us. It has to start somewhere,” said Neil Gardner, director of “With Freedom’s Holy Light” at Central Christian Church.

The musical celebration, featuring combined choirs and an orchestra from the Jackson County area, will be performed at 7 p.m. today, 6 p.m. Saturday and 4 p.m. Sunday at the church, 1434 W. Second St., Seymour.

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The program includes 11 songs with narration between each. It includes spiritual and patriotic numbers meant to connect America with the religion that helped form it.

“We are one of the few groups right after the midterm election that will be singing a musical about this country and inviting people to reflect on where they are at and where we’re at as a country and to appreciate it better,” said Philip Raynor, who will serve as a narrator.

The musical this year will be presented alongside what Gardner calls a mini-musical, “What Price Freedom.”

“It’s very patriotic. It brings you to realize the value your country has in your life, how our forefathers have given so much and the soldiers who have played a part along the way have fought for that,” said Paula Kemp, a second soprano in the choir.

Last year was the first year for the program.

After the idea to find a uniting performance to bring both churches and the country together, Gardner took on a position as worship pastor at Central Christian Church and began working to bring it all together.

The church served as a meeting place for others in Bartholomew, Jackson and Jennings counties from all denominations and even members of the Columbus orchestra as they prepared for the patriotic show.

The group practiced Wednesdays, and musicians joined similar to how the choir did gathering from across southern Indiana.

“If you haven’t thought about your country in a positive way lately, come see this musical,” Raynor said. “If you’re a veteran and may not have felt the appreciation or love of the country, come see this musical. It shows how great our country is and how much we appreciate our veterans.”

The musical is free to the public, although a freewill offering will be received for Wounded Warrior Project and hurricane relief through Samaritan’s Purse.

Veterans are invited to attend and will be recognized, and they can wear their uniforms if so inclined.

“Being a Christian musician, music is very powerful to me,” Gardner said. “Music with spoken word between the songs is even more so, and when you add music about God blessing our country, it doesn’t get any better than that.”

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What: "With Freedom’s Holy Light" and a mini-musical, "What Price Freedom"

Where: Central Christian Church, 1434 W. Second St., Seymour

When: 7 p.m. today; 6 p.m. Saturday and 4 p.m. Sunday

Cost: Free; a freewill offering will be received for Wounded Warrior Project and hurricane relief through Samaritan’s Purse

Information: 812-522-4211


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