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(Posted 5:30 p.m., Nov. 29)
Orléans Choirfest raises $3,860 for local food programs
By Fred Sherwin
Orleans Online

The 27th annual Orléans Christmas Choirfest featured 12 choirs and choruses from across the east end. Fred Sherwin/Photo

Twelve choirs from across the east end gathered at Community Pentecostal Church on Sunday for a musical celebration of the holiday season in support of the area's two community resource centres.

The Orléans Chirstmas Choirfest has been raising funds for the Eastern Ottawa Resource Centre and the Orleans-Cumberland Community Resource Centre for the past 27 years. This year the event raised $3,860 which will be split evenly between the two resource centres.and used to stock their emergency food programs in anticipaction of the holiday season.

Audience members at this year's choirfest were greeted by a pair of musical preludes. The first was performed by the combined members of the Gloucester Community Concert Band and the Community Pentecostal Church Orchestra. The second was performed by the Zephyr Harp Duo made up of Joanne Griffin and Heather Flinn.

After a series of welcome remarks by Community Pentecostal Church Pastor Brian Egert and Choirfest organizer Lynne Stacey, the evening's performances were officially kicked off by a massed children's choir formed with members from the Sonshine Singers, the Community Pentecostal Kidz Choir, the Divine Infant Children's Ministry Choir, the Orleans United Junior Choir and the Cross Town Youth Chorus.

The combined choirs earned the first standing ovation of the night with their performance of "Sing for Joy".

Each of the youth choirs then performed individually, starting with the Sonshine Singers who "Come On Ring Those Bells" under the direction of Cathy Goddard.

After the last of the youth choirs took the stage, the audience was invited to participate in the first of six carols which acted as an interlude between the respective choral performances.

After a rousing rendition of "O Come All Ye Faithful", the Community Pentecostal Choir took up their position's on stage to sing a pair of songs by American gospel artists Paula Stefanovich and Carl Cartee.

They were followed by the Divine Infant Roman Catholic Choir which chose "Carol of the Bells" for their first number and then earned a standing ovation for their performance of "O Come All Ye Faithful" which they cleverly combined with "You Raise Me Up" in an arrangement by musical director Lisa-Marie Massey.

The Orleans United Church Choir was next up on the stage as they performed "Lullaby For The Lost Child" and "Rejoice and Sing Noel!" under the direction of Scott Richardson.

They were followed by the St. Peter High School Choir who sang two selections from the school's upcoming musical "The Other Side of the River" which they will be performing at the NAC's Fourth Stage in January. The first, entitled "Praying", featured male soloist Drew Plummer. The second, entitled "Breath of Heaven", featured Vanessa Campbell. The two selections earned the third standing ovation of the evening.

After a short break during which a freewill collection was taken, the Queenswood United Church Choir took the stage to perform "Still is the Night" and "Long, Long Time Ago" under the direction of Michelle Godin.

The St. Helen's Anglican Church Choir was up next and the 24-member chorus earned the fourth standing ovation of the night with their powerful performance of "We Are The One" and "Come See The Baby".

The final performance of the eveing was delivered by the Cumberland Community Singers. Under the musical direction of Kurt Ala Kantti, the choris performed "Goin' To Bethlehem" followed by the classic Christmas carol "Hark The Herald Angels Sing".

As the audience sang "Joy to the World", the Cumberland Community Singers were joined on stage by their counterparts for a mass performance of "Listen. Children, Hear The Angels Sing" and "Handel Glory To God".

Pastor Brian Egert then delivered a short benediction which led into the mass performance of "Peace, Peace" which has brought the Choirfest to a close for the past 27 years.

The woman in charge of the Choirfest for every one of those 27 years has been Lynne Stacey, who was once again kept busy as the lead organizer, part-time accompanist and performer with the Queenswood United Church Choir and Cumberland Community Singers.

Although Stacey is the lead organizer of the event, she wss assisted admirably by a committee of six people that includes Kurt Ala Kantti, Emily Adams, Lise-Marie Massey, Darlene Van Herten, Michelle Godin and Scott Richardson.

(This story was made possible thanks to the generous support of our local business partners.)


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