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While the Civil War cannons were still roaring, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow learned his son had been gravely wounded in battle, and in response wrote the hopeful words to the now familiar "I heard the Bells on Christmas Day" song. The historical significance of this song and many others will be told through the Christmas “song stories” concert held at the Valley Presbyterian Church on Sunday, Dec. 16 at 3 p.m.

The Blue Angels choir will present a variety of favorite Christmas carols and anthems, each preceded by a background story delivered by storyteller Chris Elmerick. The stories, researched and written by Casey Reynolds, will introduce such favorites as "Joy to the World," "Silent Night," and "Carol of the Bells," as well as several others.

Also participating in the concert will be the Santa Barbara String Quartet under the direction of Emily Sommermann; pianist David Alm will join the choir, and organist Jim Tobin will present the prelude and postlude and accompany the congregation at the end of the concert with the singing of carols.

Immediately following the concert, families with children are invited to adjourn to the church's family center for “A Night in Bethlehem” hosted by the Children’s Ministries, that includes dinner.

The Santa Ynez Valley Presbyterian Church is located at the corner of Alamo Pintado and Baseline in Ballard; ample parking is available adjacent to the church. For more information contact Casey Reynolds at 805-688-2388.

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This report was compiled by Lisa André. You can reach her at landre@leecentralcoastnews.com. Follow her on Twitter @LAndréSYVNews  

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