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Community concert at Hill Cumorah

PALMYRA, N.Y. — Eager to unite the community with the Church, senior couple missionaries under the direction of Elder Jerry Hess, Palmyra Historic Sites director, created a yuletide celebration at the Hill Cumorah Visitors Center and Joseph Smith Farm in early December that stirred feelings and befriended many from different denominations.

"It was a neat experience," said Elder Quinton Homer who helped organize activities. "All who participated were very thrilled at the advent of performing with us. Everyone has asked to be invited back."

Festivities began with "The Lights of Christmas" that launched the season's celebration Dec. 1. The "Sounds of Christmas" followed the next week with the performance of many community choirs.

Robert Gunkler, deputy mayor of the Village of Palmyra, and President Mark Breinholt of the New York Rochester Mission extended holiday greetings to the audience during the lighting ceremony. The lights were then switched on, illuminating an 1820s setting. A live Nativity re-enacted the first Christmas.

The "Sounds of Christmas" followed Dec. 8 with the combining of several community choirs with LDS Church choirs for an outdoor program at the Hill Cumorah Visitors Center.

The young women of the Palmyra and Canandaigua wards, and the combined choirs from the Palmyra, Canandaigua, Lyon and Fayette wards, also performed.

The performance ended with many handshakes, hugs and promises to continue the concert next year.