Local musicians usher in holiday season with ‘He is Jesus Christ’

Eastside residents kicked off the holiday season on Sunday with a production of ‘He is Jesus Christ,’ composed by Rob Gardner and directed by Dr. Kelley Johnson, of Sammamish. The production featured a full orchestra, choir, soloists and narrated stories portraying the life, crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

More than 1,200 local residents came out to see the production, hosted by the Bellevue congregation of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), and applaud the talents of more than 100 local musicians, who made up the choir, orchestra and cast.

“I couldn’t think of a better way to usher in the holiday season than to attend a production of this caliber with family and friends,” said Greg Mackay, a local leader of the LDS church. “I hope that every person in the audience felt of the spirit that existed and should abound this holiday season.”

The production was directed by Johnson of the Johnson String Performance Studio in Sammamish. In addition to teaching, Johnson directs and performs in a number of local and regional orchestras.

“This production is a miracle; a collection of miracles,” Johnson said. “The fact that 100 local musicians have dedicated up to 12 weeks so that we can witness to all that we indeed believe in Jesus Christ, is a beautiful thing.”

The production featured musicians from throughout the Puget Sound region, with varying levels of experience from high school students to seasoned musicians, all interested in sharing their talent and ushering in the holiday season.

“I hope that all those that came to hear us perform will remember the sprit that was felt and continue to share hope, love and light for a very long time,” Johnson said.

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