By Karen Vance
There are no children dressed as angels, no manger scene and no doll wrapped in swaddling clothes in this Christmas production.
This week, three Greater Cincinnati churches will host a special guest, Tatiana, telling the story of Christmas through her voice.
"Usually around Christmas, there are these big productions. This is the counterpoint," said Rod Nimtz, music director at St. Julie Billiart in Hamilton, a host churches for the concert, "Emmanuel: The Story of Christmas."
Known as Tajci in her country, she was once the biggest pop star in the former Yugoslavia, and remains featured on Web sites devoted to discussions about her whereabouts and "sightings."
She'll have crisscrossed the country nine times and performed more than 300 concerts in 31/2 years before coming to Cincinnati, where she and her husband and manager, Matthew Cameron, have family.
"She sings about Jesus. She sings about Mary, and she causes you to come back to where this all came about in the first place. There's a purity in her music," said Laurie Bambrick, a volunteer with the Holy Spirit Center who coordinated the events after seeing Tatiana perform.
"I think she's led by the Holy Spirit. It's such a beautiful gift to be able to take the gift God's given you and share that love with other people," Bambrick said. "It helps you center on what the season is about."
"(Her music) is more reflective. The whole point of it is to give people a chance to meditate and pray, but they're still traditional Christmas songs," Cameron said. "We're motivated by a desire to reach people."
The concerts are scheduled for 8 p.m. Wednesday at the Holy Spirit Center, 5440 Moeller Ave., Norwood; 7 p.m. Thursday at St. James The Greater Catholic Church, 3565 Hubble Road, White Oak; and 7:30 p.m. Friday at St. Julie Billiart Catholic Church, 224 Dayton St., Hamilton.
They are free and open to the public, but a free-will offering will be collected.
Creche exhibit continues: The Cathedral of St. Peter in Chains, 325 W. Eighth St., will host an exhibit of 26 creches, or nativity scenes, from around the world. The sets are on loan from the Marian Library, International Marian Research Institute, on the University of Dayton campus.
The exhibit, open Saturdays 12:30 to 4 p.m. and Sundays 12:30 to 5 p.m., runs through Jan. 4.
Athenaeum to show its Vatican art: Throughout the life of the Vatican art exhibit, "Saint Peter and the Vatican: The Legacy of the Popes," which runs Dec. 20 through April 18 at the Cincinnati Museum Center, the Athenaeum of Ohio/Mount St. Mary's Seminary in Mount Washington will open its doors to visitors to view its own Vatican art.
The Athenaeum is the permanent home of six mosaics produced in the art studios in the Vatican; a painting received by the Archdiocese of Cincinnati when it was in its infancy that later became the inspiration for the name of the Cathedral of St. Peter in Chains; and numerous other pieces of religious art.
The Athenaeum, 6616 Beechmont Ave., will be open weekdays from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., and brochures that provide self-guided tours will be in the atrium.
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