Sibley Candlelight Processional gives meaning to the season
SIBLEY -- Last year, Tim Nobles set out to make an idea that started with annual trips to DisneyWorld into a northwest Iowa reality. Even he didn't imagine how successful the event would be.
"We were kind of overwhelmed by the distance people came, how many people showed up and how much was donated," said Nobles, an investment adviser and also director of his church's choir.
Last year's Candlelight Processional blended narration and song and filled the Sibley-Ocheyedan Auditorium to standing-room only, drawing people from Sioux Center and Sheldon, Iowa, Fulda, Slayton and as far as Sioux Falls, S.D.
While Nobles may have been surprised at the public response, he didn't expect anything less from the talented musicians that joined him in creating the concert.
"I can't say that I was surprised by the quality of the music. We have lots of talent dedicated to the music. But for the first year doing something we've never tried before at such a busy time of year, it was great to see them committed to seeing it come together," Nobles said.
The 2012 Candlelight Processional will follow a very similar program as last year and will be filled with traditional Christmas carols like "O Come All Ye faithful," "O Holy Night" and "What Child Is This?"
Readings about the Christmas story from the Book of Luke are woven together with the songs to create a powerful Christmas message about the true meaning of Christmas, said Nobles.
Building on last year's success, Nobles hopes the Candlelight Processional will continue to grow and possibly expand to multiple performances in the future
Nobles based the event on the Candlelight Processional in Florida's DisneyWorld and Epcot, a special holiday event that takes place nightly with celebrity narrators and an orchestra and choir.
Nobles anticipates 55 to 60 mass choir members ranging in age from 14 to 85. They come from throughout the community and many are involved their church's choirs.
Local churches have been practicing the music for weeks, and there is crossover of choir members practicing with other churches, Nobles added.
The mass choir had its first rehearsal on Saturday, and the second is scheduled for the day before the performance.
Once again, the Candlelight Processional will serve as a fundraiser for ATLAS (an acronym for Attaining Truth, Love and Self-Control), a ministry supported through local churches and donations.
Begun in 2007, ATLAS is a non-denominational ministry that is free to the public and focuses on building relationships with its clients.
"ATLAS is a nonprofit, faith-based ministry," explained Clark Haken, ATLAS director in Osceola County. "We will take appointments with people who are experiencing rough spots in their life. We listen, as often as they would like us to. We do referrals to area experts and work with clients in age from 9 to 92."
ATLAS in Osceola County is part of a larger organization that has offices from California to Georgia.
The funds raised through the hour-long performance will directly support the ATLAS ministry.
"Donations that we received from the fundraiser will go to work right away to help the people of the community," Haken said.
While the event is a fundraiser for ATLAS, Haken also sees it as a way to thank the community for the support that it has given ATLAS.
Haken was overwhelmed by the positive response the event had last year.
"We had positive feedback coming into the office, people on the street were saying how much they enjoyed it and were encouraging us to consider doing it again," he said.
Haken also praised the work that Tim Nobles and his wife, Ginger, the processional's accompanist, have done in organizing the event.
"It was Tim's idea to use the event as a fundraiser for ATLAS. On behalf of the ATLAS staff and board, we are so appreciative," he said.
Haken believes that when a community unites and combines talent with the spirit of giving, beautiful things can happen to bless and benefit many others.
"I hope that everyone attending the Candlelight Processional is simply blessed by the songs and the words. After all, it's the greatest story ever told," said Haken, who will once again be the narrator for the event.
Nobles would encourage any music lover to attend the performance.
"If people want to get out and enjoy quality music with a message of the real reason for Christmas, they should plan on attending," he said.
'I'm always astonished, when you assemble local talent, how talented a community can be. When you combine all those voices, it makes a marvelous sound, and the songs are just beautiful," Haken added.
The Candlelight Processional will be presented at 2 p.m. Sunday in the Sibley-Ocheyedan High School Auditorium in Sibley. Refreshments will follow.
Daily Globe Reporter Alyson Buschena may be reached at