Angelic Voices

It’s a still a month until Christmas, but today’s BreakPoint listeners heard me unwrap a special Christmas gift: music from the Angel Tree Choir. The choir is the brainchild of Alex MacDougall, a vice president at Star Song Communications, a recording company in Nashville, Tennessee. Alex’s family had sponsored Angel Tree children in Christmases past. Like thousands of other Angel Tree volunteers, the MacDougall family bought presents for children whose names appeared on paper ornaments hung on a Christmas tree set up at their church. The gifts were then delivered in the name of the children’s incarcerated parents. But two years ago, Alex wondered if he could help the Angel Tree children in a more substantial way. Would it be possible to put together a choir made up of Angel Tree children and record Christmas carols? As Alex recalls, "It seemed the perfect fund-raising vehicle: a choir made up of kids whose parents were incarcerated, and using Christmas music to create awareness for Angel Tree." Alex shared his vision with Mark Morgan, Angel Tree’s project manager, who gave him an enthusiastic thumbs up. Alex began recruiting music-business friends who agreed to lend their talents for the project, including Grammy-award-winning producer Barny Robertson. The head of Nashville’s Angel Tree program supplied Alex with a list of local Angel Tree children, who were invited to be a part of the new choir. On the day of the first rehearsal, 17 excited children arrived at the Star Song studios. For the next two weeks, the kids rehearsed continuously—a difficult task, given that few of them had any musical experience. But by the end of the second week, it all began to come together as the children brought the beautiful Christmas hymns to life. As the rehearsals and recordings came to a close, Alex realized that working with these children had affected him deeply. "The Angel Tree choir had more impact on my life than any other recording project I’ve worked on," he says. "It will always be the single event that I can point to, where God’s gift of creativity met artistry, and artistry met ministry." This year Angel Tree plans to bring Christmas presents to nearly half a million children who have lost a parent to prison. These gifts can make the difference between a Christmas of love, warmth, and kindness, and one of feeling forgotten, unloved, and without hope. As we approach the season in which we celebrate our Savior’s birth, join me in praying for the children of Angel Tree. Together, we can bring the love of Christ to innocent victims of crime.


Chuck Colson


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