25th Christmas Keyboard Festival preview

Posted at 3:14 PM, Nov 30, 2015
and last updated 2015-11-30 15:14:39-05

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Christmas Keyboard Festival is one of the highlights of the holiday season in Southwest Florida.  Last year alone, nearly 10,000 people showed up to enjoy the free concerts over three nights.

And this year is sure to be a crowd pleaser.  It's the 25th anniversary for the festival at the First Assembly of God Church in Fort Myers.

"We feel like it gets bigger and better every year."  Pastor Jonathan Sawyer is the church's musical director.  He explains that not only will you get to enjoy a 100-person choir with a 30-piece orchestra, but also something really unusual: four grand pianos on one stage.

You will get a rare chance to hear some one-of-a-kind arrangements of some favorite holiday classics.  "It is different! You don't see that all the time. We have to go as far as Sarasota to rent the pianos so they all match."

There will be guest singers and a special appearance by the Voices of Lee. a group of college students who were so good they were asked to perform at President Obama's 2012 Inauguration.

25 years ago, First Assembly of God opted to not put on a huge Christmas pageant like other churches, but instead do a keyboard festival.  And as thousands of people continue to make it a standing room only event, that decision has proven to be a smart one.

And Sawyer promises that those who have gone in the past won't want to miss this year.  "We've worked all year long for this, and were really thrilled for what we've put together for this year."

The concerts are this Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  Friday's show is at 7pm, and Saturday and Sunday there are two shows, at 3pm and 7pm!  Thats under the big silver dome on Summerlin Road just south of Colonial Boulevard.