'Glory of Christmas' sees silver

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GARDEN GROVE, Calif. — Preparations are under way for one of Southern California's most impressive Christmas pageants, the 'Glory of Christmas,' which this year celebrates its 25th year of live performances.

Performances begin Nov. 24 and run nightly through Dec. 30.

Billed as one of the largest living nativities in the world, the program was established in 1981, a year after the Crystal Cathedral, its host church, was constructed. Featuring an ensemble cast of more than 100 soloists and dancers, the production is complemented by pre-recorded orchestration by the London Symphony Orchestra.

The church's world-renowned pipe organ also has a starring role. With more than 21,000 pipes on 287 ranks, the organ is considered the largest collection of such pipes in the world, church officials said.

Throughout the show, the multi-generational cast performs original and traditional holiday standards such as "O Come All Ye Faithful," "Silent Night," and "Joy to the World."

A highlight of the program is eight flying angels, some of which soar 80 feet above the stage and travel as fast as 25 mph. Special effects enhance the work of the cast, as does an array of live animals—three adult camels and a baby, six horses, a yak, a llama, a baby water buffalo and many sheep and goats.

According to pageant officials, more than 300 volunteers dedicate at lease 160 hours each to The Glory of Christmas as both cast members and volunteer ushers.

The production is dark Mondays and on Dec. 24 and 25.

Ticket prices range from  $30 to $40, with special group pricing available. Discount Nights, boasting $18 tickets, are set for Nov. 29 and 30 and Dec. 5, 6, 7, 12, 13, 14, 26 and 27.

The all-glass structure church, which seats 2,508 for the production, is located at 12141 Lewis St., Garden Grove.

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit "The Glory of Christmas" online at crystalcathedral.org or call (714) 54-GLORY.