Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Caroling in the Caverns

I am a bit embarrassed to admit that it wasn't until I saw a program on the Travel Channel last December that I found out about the event called "Caroling in the Caverns". That is because the event has been going on for several years, and I live just about 90 minutes from there. But as soon as I learned about it, I phoned to get a ticket. The person who took my call said the tickets had been sold out for months, and that if I ever wanted to go, I had better get my tickets purchased earlier next time. So I put a note to myself in my calendar back in August, and proceeded to order my ticket (which cost $17) as soon as they went on sale in the early fall. As a coincidence, all of the lessons in my Faithful Friends small group at church this month have been on the topic the quarterly entitled "God's Christmas Songs". So a field trip to hear "God's Christmas Songs" in such a unique setting as an underground cave seemed very appropriate. Although photography or recording was not allowed during the actual program, I was able to get the photos above before it started. The lower photo shows that stringed instruments were included in the music presentation. An instrument that the nearby town of Mountain View is famous for---the mountain dulcimer---was expertly played by local native, and widely recognized dulcimer aficionado, Pam Kirby. Pam is also the leader of the various musicians that shared their voices on the afternoon of December 13 when I was there.

When one first arrives at the Banchard Springs Caverns Visitor's Center (pictured in collage above), there are a variety of activities to occupy your time until boarding the elevators to descend hundreds of feet underground. The theater has an audio-visual presentation telling about how the cave was created and discovered, and also includes beautiful Ozark nature scenes captured by area photographer Jerry Wilcoxen. There is also an excellent exhibit area to view, as well as a gift shop and book store. Plus, on days that a performance is being given, complementary refreshments are served consisting of cookies, hot cider, and candy canes.
As you can tell by the way the audience is dressed in the photo collage above, the temperature was very comfortable. Since I tend to get cold easily, I had an extra coat, scarf, ear muffs, and gloves---none of which I needed. In addition, plastic seat cushions are provided to each attendee as you enter the elevator, so that you will not be sitting directly on a damp bench. I was pleased to see that the area where the audience sits is wheel-chair accessible, so one does not have to be a hiker-type to participate. In keeping with the tradition of strolling carolers, the performers would move to various locations distant from the audience so that we could appreciate the remarkable acoustics in the space. If any of this appeals to you, you'll be thankful to hear that you will not have to wait until December of 2010 to experience it. Due to its popularity, special performances have been scheduled for February 13-14, to celebrate St. Valentine's Day; also, for March 13-14, to celebrate St. Patrick's Day. Only 400 tickets are available for each weekend, so don't wait to reserve your spot. Contact the Mountain View Chamber of Commerce at 870-269-8068 or visit to order tickets online.
The video at the Visitor's Center Theater talked about creatures that live in the dark. Likewise, the story of Christmas is about creatures who were living in the dark. But the verses in Luke 1:78-79 shows us God's remedy for such an existence : "Because of our God's merciful compassion, the Dawn from on high will visit us to shine on those who live in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace." I pray that you will experience miles of "light filled" smiles this Christmas season and throughout the year! TriciaPosted by Picasa