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Onalaska United Methodist Church is busy preparing for another Christmas cantata, which this year will be presented twice on Sunday, Dec. 16, at the church, 212 Fourth Ave. N.

“Heaven and Earth Rejoice” by Marty Parks will be presented at the 8:30 and 11 a.m. services and will feature a 55-member choir, a 22-piece orchestra, narration and powerful visual images. Members of the vocal ensemble represent six churches in the area. The orchestra is made up of members of the La Crosse Symphony Orchestra, the West Salem Community Jazz Band and the Grumpy Old Men.

Directed by Cory Groves and accompanied by Sandy Koster and Faith Camp, this cantata continues a 40-year tradition of holiday cantatas at the church.

Musical styles of this work cover a wide variety of tastes including traditional holiday carols, contemporary praise, jazz and Southern gospel. Vocal soloists will include Pam Klinger, Kimberly Gatica, Kathy Novy, Trina Schliefer, Deb Welander, Doug Huggett and Doug Mahlum. Narrator is Mark Bertrang.

Judging from previous cantata attendance, it’s a good idea to arrive early as seats fill up quickly.

Musical preludes begin 25 minutes prior to both services. Parking is available on both upper and lower level lots. Coffee and treats will be served between services.

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Entertainment and county government reporter

Randy Erickson covers arts and entertainment and county government for the La Crosse Tribune. Contact him at 608-791-8219 or

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