Tuesday, October 5, 2021

ADVENT: The Old Time Radio Show

Last year, thanks to Covid-19, we had to get creative about our Advent services. We didn't want to do a typical online service and wanted to include some drama. What did we come up with? I wrote an Old Time Radio Show called Journey to Christmas. (Get a sample of the script here.) The plan was that the youth would come in to the sanctuary and record it live while the congregation tuned in at home and listened. There were a few times when kids ended up in quarantine so we had them "phone it in." When doing the live feed we used the slide below. We did not show the kids presenting the show because we didn't want to lose the illusion of radio. Also, nearly every parent who came to sit in the sanctuary said it was more fun listening at home. 

Christmas is not just about Jesus’ birth. It’s about the journey of salvation from the beginning of time to us today. Similar to the Sabbath, Advent is the time before we celebrate Christ’s birth for us to remember what the Lord did for His people throughout the Old Testament. We think about the question, why do we need a Savior?

With both truth and humor,
Episode 1 briefly tells the stories of Adam, Noah, Abraham, and Isaac;
Episode 2 briefly tells the stories of Jacob, Joseph, and Moses;
Episode 3 briefly tells the stories of Joshua, Saul, David, and Solomon; and
Episode 4 is the story of Christ’s birth until the departure to Egypt. The last section contains the story of the Magi, which takes place some time after Jesus’ birth and in a house in Jerusalem.

The script is written for an Old Time Radio Show because as a radio show it’s not necessary for players to wear costumes, props are not needed, and memorization is unnecessary, though familiarity with the script helps. The radio drama can be done in front of a congregation, but it’s much more authentic having them listen online or even in the sanctuary without watching the action. With a little tweaking the script can also be used as a regular in-person drama. 

Each Advent episode has three advertisements similar to those heard in old time radio shows. There is a list of characters and possible sound effects at the beginning of each episode as well as a list of electronic sounds and what we did for in-person sounds, which are much more fun than electronics. I found great sounds online for free at ZapSplat.com

In order to stream the show with good sound a microphone is needed at the sound table for all sounds made in person and should be used with the speaker on the PC. Keep in mind that it's not necessary for good sound in the sanctuary, but for all sound to come through balanced online or on the recording. It is wise to rehearse with only sounds before you add them to the dialogue and to have someone on the soundboard to adjust volume as needed. Both the pastor/narrator and God had their own microphones, we had two standing a distance apart for the kids to share, and one at the sound effects table. The sound effects table was in front of the sanctuary because watching the kids do the sounds is part of the fun for those in the sanctuary. It also helps if they have to jump up and read a part. The microphones were not facing the congregation as it made the kids more comfortable not to face them. The narrator for the ads was not the same person as the narrator for the show. 

You can purchase the script below and I'll email it to you. Wow, those Paypal buttons are huge. I hope they work...

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