The True Meaning of Christmas at the Denton State Supported Living Center

December 5, 2019

A longstanding Holiday tradition in DFW is the annual Christmas Pageant presented by residents at the Denton State Supported Living Center. Opened in 1960 and designed as a community for individuals with intellectual and developmental difficulties, this Pageant, now in its 43rd year, has become essential in this community’s holiday celebrations.

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 shepards, kings, wise men (and a few camels!). Also forming a choir and a host of angels, the residents bring the chapel alive with the carols of the season. 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 them. I think they think about it all year!” said Smith. Ann McMillan, who has performed the program now for eight years, also remarked, “I absolutely love doing this pageant. I wouldn’t miss it for anything as long as it keeps going and they will have me! It is really special.”

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.