(Posted 12:30 a.m., Dec. 4)
Choirfest a choral celebration of the holiday season
By Fred Sherwin
choirs from across the east end gathered at the Community Pentecostal
Church on Sunday night to take part in the 24th Annual Orléans
Christmas Choirfest. Fred Sherwin/Photo
holiday season got off to an exultant start on Sunday as 12 local
choirs joined forces to celebrate faith, fellowship and the arrival
of Advent during the 24th annual Orléans Christmas Choirfest.
1200 people packed the Community Pentecostal Church on St. Joseph
Blvd. to enjoy seasonal anthems, listen to readings from the Holy
Scripture and sing along to traditional Christmas carols between performances.
Pentecostal Church Orchestra got the evening off to a festive start with
a Christmas medley under the direction of Marlene Toth.
Christmas Choirfest was once again organized by Orléans resident Lynne
Stacey who dedicated the evening to Judy Simmons, a long time member
of both the Cumberland Community Singers and the Queeswood United
Church choir who passed away unexpectedly last month.
was really important to me that we honoured her in such a way. She
always loved this evening and what it was all about," said Stacey.
Five different denominations
were represented at this year's Choirfest. There were also six youth
choirs present including the Sonshine Singers and the
St. Peter Catholic High School Choir.
serving as a communal means to celebrate the season, the Choirfest
is also an important fundraiser. Organizers collected an all-time
high $4,000 during a freewill collection taken midway through the
program which will be split between the Gloucester Emergency Food
Cupboard and the Orleans Cumberland Resource Centre Emergency Food
the concert begins in September when the one and only organizing meeting
is held. The choirs then submit the selections they are going to sing and
spend the next two months rehearsing.
the highlights of this year's Choirfest was the opening performance
of "Away in A Manager" song by members of the Sonshine Singers,
the Cross Town Youth Chorus, the Community Pentecostal Kidz Choir
and the Orleans United Church Junior Choir.
United Church Junior Choir did a superb job during their individual
performance as well, singing "He Comes!".
Infant Roman Catholic Church choir drew a loud round of applause for
their performance of "Come See", which they sang with the
St. Francis of Assisi Primary Choir, and the Cumberland Community
Singers received an ovation for their performance of the "Nativity
Carol" and "Praise His Holy Name", which featured several
vocal refrains from director Kurt Ala-Kantti and the musical accompaniment
of Mathieu Saindon on piano.
notable performances were turned in by the St. Helen's Anglican Church
choir, which received a standing ovation for their performance of
"A Christmas Carillon", and the Community Pentecostal Church
choir which sang "We Have Come To Worship Him" and "For
Unto Us A Child Is Born".
the unique things about the Christmas Choirfest is that the audience
is encouraged to sing familiar carols of the season in between performances
such as "O Come All Ye Faithful" and "Hark The Herald
also included performances by the Queenswood United Church choir,
the Grace Presbyterian choir, the Orleans United Church choir and
the St. Peter Catholic High School Choir which received a rousing
ovation for their rendition of "There's a Baby Born in Bethlehem"
is the case every year, the highlight of the night came near the end
when all 12 choirs gathered on stage to sing as one. The first song
they sang was "Christmastime", followed by "Come And
Adore Him" during which the audience joined in as the choirs
launched into "O come let us..."
finale, the choirs encircled the entire room to sing "Peace,
Peace" which has brought all 24 Choirfests to a close. Afterwards,
Stacey stood near the front smiling from ear to ear.
single year it just keeps getting better and better," said Stacey.
"We're so blessed to be able to bring all these terrific choirs
together and raise money for the local resource centres. What did
we raise tonight, $4,000? That's the best ever. I'm absolutely thrilled."
Choirfest kicks off a series of choral celebrations that continues
this Friday and Saturday night with two performances by the Corvo
Vivo (formerly the Blackburn Chorus) at the Orleans United Church
on Orleans Blvd. Curtain time both nights is 7:30 p.m. and admission
is $15 per person. Children 12 and under are admitted for free.
Pentecostal Church Choir will be presenting Handel's Young Messiah
this Sunday at the church with special guests, the Jubilance Singers
and Orchestra from Toronto. There is no charge to attend the concert,
however a freewill offering will be taken for the Samaritan Ministry
Christmas food basket program. The concert begines at 6 p.m.
the Cumberland Community Singers' annual Christmas concert will be
held next Wednesday, Jan. 46at 7:30 p.m.. at Orleans United Church starting
at 7:30 p.m. with a special guest appearance by the Cross Town Youth
Chorus. Admission is $15 for adults and $10 for seniors. Children
17 and under are admitted for free.
was made possible thanks to the generous support of our local
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