Beloved Holiday Tradition Returns to the Denton State Supported Living Center

December 20, 2023

Local 72-147 Musicians performing for the Christmas Pageant at the Denton State Supported Living Center in early December.


A longstanding holiday tradition in DFW has returned after a hiatus caused by the Covid-19 Pandemic. This is the annual Christmas Pageant presented by residents at the Denton State Supported Living Center, a community for individuals with intellectual and developmental difficulties. This Pageant, now in its 44th year, has been brought back into the community’s holiday celebrations, after a three year absence, with the support of Music Performance Trust Fund.

Originally written by the center’s music therapist Joe Pinson, residents from the Living Center come together to dramatize the Christmas story. Performing in costume, some enact the roles of Mary and Joseph, while others carry out the choreography of shepherds, kings, wise men (and a few camels!). There is literally a part for everyone. With the total participation of the community’s residents, the pageant is as much an educational event for them as it is a celebration.

Supporting it all is the music performed by an ensemble of Local 72-147 musicians. Marshall Smith has contracted and performed for the program for more than 25 years. He has literally watched residents grow from children to adults, as they have participated in the pageant from season to season. “Being a part of this program is so important to the residents. They put so much work into it and are planning to expand the show as it was originally conceived. I think they think about it all year!” said Smith. Ann MacMillan, who has performed the program now for nine years, is also happy the pageant is back, “Seeing my friends in the orchestra, and the familiar faces of the residents and staff at the school, just makes the holiday season,” she said.  “It was extra poignant this year because the Denton music community celebrated the show’s creator, Joe Pinson, after his recent passing. It is special show at a special place.”

Local 72-147 is pleased to support this event through the funding of Music Performance Trust Fund, whose mission includes contributing to the public knowledge and appreciation of music, as well as making music a part of every child’s life experience.