HOPEWELL, MN—The Children’s Church class at Hopewell Church of God performed “This Little Light of Mine” for the adult main service last Sunday. Directed by Children’s Church teacher Meg Butler, the performance was roundly lambasted by music critics nationwide.
Michelle Sobrino of Variety called the staging of the show a complete disaster. “Miss Butler’s singers filed in to begin the performance in a haphazard manner, many of them waving to loved ones or loudly announcing that they saw their parents. One young lady in the back threw her headband, plopped down on the stage and began to wail, necessitating her removal from the stage. Frankly, if it were not for the earnestness of the performers, one would suspect they were watching some bizarre avant-garde piece. Oh, for five minutes of Diane Paulus!”
New York Times music critic Anthony Tommasini was equally negative about the act, writing, “While six-year-old David Thompson indeed knew the words, which he demonstrated by screaming at the top of his lungs for the entire performance, the fact he was simultaneously picking his nose took the shine off a bold showing. Sadly, seven-year-old Emma Lemon did not match even this level, having seemingly forgotten the words and playing with her friend’s hair the entire time.”
Anne Midgette of The Washington Post additionally attacked the performance’s lackluster choreography. “Perhaps in the future Miss Butler should not attempt her own choreography. Having the children hold up their finger to signify a ‘light’ felt uncoordinated and crude, especially since half the cast only performed the move twenty to thirty seconds after the accompanying lyrics. And to the pair of six-year-old twins twirling in the back, this bold experiment in postmodern dance was overshadowed by the preschooler in front of them who elected to simply lie down on the stage during the entirety of the number.”
Despite the critical professional views, audience members unanimously rated the show “adorable” and “sweet,” and clapped deliriously as the performance ended.