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Joy Doty performs a hula song on Sunday night in Watsontown.

WATSONTOWN — An outcast never felt so good.

That’s what Joy Doty, 12, could say after applause and cheers greeted her portrayal of the shunned Hula-Girl ornament in “Christmas Hang Ups.”

Her solo rendition of “Mele Kalikimaka” brought the house down.

It was part of the Christmas pageant at the Revival Tabernacle. Fifty-two children, 4 to 14, from five counties took part. It was directed by Pastor Jilline Bond, with the assistance of Mary Burrell.

The cast earned standing ovations from hundreds of spectators at both morning and evening performances Sunday.

The play begins in the fictional Watson family’s attic. The ornaments are in their boxes, but beginning to stir, sensing Christmas is near. The Star, the Snowman, the Angel, and others begin to talk. They can’t understand what a hula girl has to do with Christmas. They say she’s not “Christmassy” enough.

Another souvenir ornament, Tex, speaks up for her, but it’s not until Joseph steps out of the nativity scene that everyone gains greater understanding of the true meaning of Christmas.

“It was absolutely spectacular,” Bond said. “It brought everything together ... Santa, elves, Jesus and the manger, every kind of ornament you can have on a Christmas tree came together to tell the story of the birth of Jesus.”

First lesson

The first lesson it taught, Bond said, was that although someone may be different than you, they are not really different at all.

When Doty, of Hughesville, sings Mele Kalikimaka, the Hawaiian Merry Christmas song, she’s doing it to impress the other ornaments while they’re trying to push her out.

“It’s a fun song,” Doty said. “The play is about being left out. It’s about acceptance.”

Tex was played by Jordan Geiser, of Lewisburg, who turned 14 Saturday. He learned a western drawl for his role, which he said was fairly easy after you get the hang of it.

“But I don’t sing,” he said. “I’m not one of the traditional ornaments. I’m just hula girl’s friend. I stick up for her when the others make fun of her. Then Joseph comes in an explains that nobody is better than anybody else.”

The play includes solo songs by kids as young as 4 — Cameron Kline, Audrie Nicholas and Rachel Marshall. “They were on tune, perfect pitch,” Bond said. “They have to sing along with a sound track, too,” she said. “They were right on.”

Zach Wenrick, 13, was Frosty, kind of a bad guy.

“I’m trying to get the hula girl to not fit in,” he said.

Teaching the word

The experience was “awesome,” he added, “because you get to teach people about the word of God.”

Ellie Doty, 9, sang a solo — “Hurry Christmas.” She liked the experience. Her aunt, grandma and mom and dad in the audience liked it, too.

Breauna Williams, 7, playing Princess Belle, and Amira Williams, 9, the star “Bright,” were exhilarated after their solos. “A lot of people standed up, clapped, and went like ‘woo-woo’ and whistled,” Breauna said.

Josiah Gibson, 12, played a wise man in the nativity scene. “It was cool,” he said. “You get to teach why Jesus came.”

Anaya Davis, 5, was adorable as Ladybug, and she sang, too.

Other notable solos were “Isn’t He?” performed by Jazmine Nicholas and “All Alone at Christmas,” performed by Analisa Johnson.

Some of the younger performers went on with older cast members so they could get the experience, Bond said. Tex mentored Woody, played by Jhalil Keyes, and Frosty had his Blizzard played by Romeo Mong.

Slip-ups were small.

“I forgot a couple of lines, but it was all right,” Wenrick said. “They were unimportant ones.” Even the hula girl said she “messsed up a few,” but they took it like troupers.

Bond said it was amazing that so many little kids, living near and far, gave up their evenings and time since September to do the play. Full costumes, with make-up, were created, along with scenery and lighting, with the help of a lot of volunteers.

“The kids loved it and they had a great time,” Bond said, handing out souvenir ornaments to each player after the second performance Sunday. “They will remember it always.”

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