Festival of choirs takes center stage with COVID precautions

Panama City

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — On Sunday, Bay County students belted out Christmas classics at an annual festival, just like in the past, but this year students showed off their talents wearing masks.

Every year, the Festival of Choirs unites Bay County high school choirs, but this year was a little different.

The event took place in the sanctuary of First United Methodist Church of Panama City.

Jeremy Pridgeon, Senior Pastor said usually there would be one performance.

“But to help social distancing, and also to kind of move people through we’re gonna have two separate gatherings,” Pridgeon said. “And so we’ll have kind of early and then we’ll break and reconfigure the space and then have a late offering as well.”

Pridgeon said students have been through so much in the last few years, from Hurricane Michael to the current pandemic. He said it’s important to give them a creative outlet.

“To be able to gather here and have some sense of an opportunity to showcase their talents,” Pridgeon said. “And to be able to sing and express joy in the season and allow us to see a little bit about what they’re doing in there in their day to day learning that we’ve kind of been limited with.”S

Students sang Christmas classics like “Now is the Caroling Season, “Silent Night”, and “Amen.”

This was the first year since 2017, that the event was able to take place inside the church’s sanctuary, which has just been restored after being damaged in Hurricane Michael.

Attendees were asked to bring a non-perishable food item to help stock the church’s food pantry for the holiday season.

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