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The Globe and Mail

Behind the scenes of a Christmas pageant

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Abby McDermott, 9, (front) was a Bethlehem girl in last year’s performance, which meant she sang carols with a small group of other girls. This year, she has her own lines. “I’m the angel. I’m the one who tells Mary she’ll have baby Jesus,” Abby says. “I’m kind of nervous.”

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Carly Turner was the pageant’s baby Jesus when she was only a few weeks old. Now 14, she’s playing the role of Mary. After years of participating in the pageant, Carly has caught the acting bug. She studies music theatre in school. “I used to [get stage fright], but not as bad any more,” she says.

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Nyla White, 16, (right) used to perform in the pageant when she was younger, but for the past four years, she’s done the makeup for the actors. “You look so cool,” she tells Sarah Skeat (centre), 12, who plays the second of three kings. Sarah has performed in the pageant for seven years, playing various roles from David to an angel choir member to a Bethlehem girl to a gift-bearer. By now, she’s given up on looking for her parents in the audience. “The lights are too bright. I can’t really see anything.”

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Rev. Dr. David Winsor gives his remarks to the audience before the show begins.

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In a backroom, the angel choir gathers to warm up their vocal chords with a last-minute run-through.

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In a backroom, the angel choir gathers to warm up their vocal chords with a last-minute run-through.

Fernando Morales/The Globe and Mail

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