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Christmas Is One Language concert Sunday night in Gainesville

At a glance

* Christmas Is One Language concert

* When: 7 tonight

* Where: Gainesville First United Methodist Church, 2780 Thompson Bridge Road, Gainesville

* Cost: Free

* More info: (770) 536-2341 or

GAINESVILLE — Feliz Navidad, joyeux Noël or Merry Christmas: no matter the language, the meaning is the same.

Christmas is a holiday celebrated by countries around the world. And Gainesville First United Methodist Church will showcase some of those diverse cultures with the Christmas Is One Language concert.

This year marks the 19th year for the free concert, which will be at 7 tonight.

“I think the No. 1  factor of the concert’s success is the leadership of Enrique Montiel, the chairman for Gainesville’s Multicultural committee,” said John Laforge, director of worship arts at Gainesville First UMC. “He works hard to reach out to cultural groups. It’s a real flavor of diverse talent within our area.”

The assorted acts offering various music styles and ethnic groups include a Mexican dance group, gospel music, a Korean choir and a Chinese dance group.

Several groups performing have sung at previous Christmas Is One Language concerts.

Among these are the St. John Baptist Church Angelic Voices choir, The Lakeshore Carillon Ringers (the handbell choir of Gainesville First UMC) and the Ballet Mexicano de Lupita Sosa.

Laforge said he believes this year’s concert will be one of the best because of the amount of diversity and special treats.

“One of our special treats this year is something we call Pastoral Harmony,” Laforge said. “Terry Walton, the senior pastor [at Gainesville First], and Bill Coates, the senior pastor at First Baptist Church, will be singing several duets together.”

But the concert will not disregard the traditional Christmas elements. Some scheduled songs are “O Come All Ye Faithful,” “Silent Night” and “God Rest ye Merry Gentlemen.”

The concert also will include cultural songs such as “Ariring,” a Korean folksong.                                               

“Each of the performers will give a personal touch to their performance even if it’s a traditional song,” said Laforge, who encourages visitors to the church be filled with the spirit at the concert and during Christmas on Green Street earlier in the day.

“It’s a great way to celebrate the holiday spirit and see and hear our diverse community.”