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If Beshore was around, no one mentioned him—instead, a young, charismatic man led a band and singers through a Christmas program as secular as what they allow at public schools nowadays. First up was Louis Armstrong’s salacious “Cool Yule,” with swing dancers jitterbugging onstage and in the crowd. More carols followed, interspersed with scenes on a big screen from holiday classics such as Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer, Elf and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Three of the dozen or so songs performed during what the young man kept calling a “service” mentioned the birth of Jesus.

Soon, thousands joined an interactive version of “The 12 Days of Christmas,” complete with college students dressed to represent the particular gift of a day: French hens, piping pipers, golden rings. Each section yelled out their particular day, the energy growing with each verse. Suddenly, the lights went out. This was unplanned.

“We don’t need no stinking light!” the service leader shouted, and the festivities continued for a couple of minutes in the darkness.

Bob Gunn, now associate conductor for the Orange County Gay Men's Chorus, Men Alive
Drew Faber Photography
Bob Gunn, now associate conductor for the Orange County Gay Men's Chorus, Men Alive
The Mariners campus
Keith May
The Mariners campus

GARELLANO@OCWEEKLY.COM

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