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Orléans Ward
Bob Monette



(Posted 7:30 a.m., Dec. 4)

Orléans Christmas Choirfest a choral celebration of the holiday season
By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

Members of the Sonshine Singers, Divine Infant Children's Ministry Choir, Cross Town Youth Chorus and the Orleans United Church Choir join forces to open the 2012 Orleans Christmas Choirfest. Fred Sherwin/Photo

The Community Pentecostal Church was the scene of a joyous celebration of the holiday season Sunday evening as 10 choirs gathered from across Orléans for the 28th annual Christmas Choirfest.

The Orléans Christmas Choirfest has been bringing choirs together for the past 28 years with the goal of raising money for area food banks at a time when the need is greatest.

As has become tradition, the concert was opened by a mass junior choir with members from the Sonshine Singers, the Divine Infant Children's Ministry Choir, the Cross Town Youth Chorus and the Orleans United Junior Choir, joining together to sing "Al Shlosa".

The Sonshine Singers followed with "Rise Up Shepherd and Follow" featuring soloist Precious Izioman, and "He Reigns" featuring soloists Courtney, Victoria and Christina Goddard.

The Divine Infant Children's Ministry Choir then took the stage to perform "The Christmas Shoes", followed by he Cross Town Youth Chorus which sang "Sunny Bank" before the United Church Junior Choir concluded the junior portion of the concert with the song "Love Will Be Born".

The entire gathering then joined together for a rousing rendition of "O Come All Ye Faithfull".

Another tradition of the Christmas Choirfest is to recite portions of the Christmas Story from scripture in between each performance.

The first adult choir to take the stage was the Orleans United Church Choir which sang "Then We Shall Sing for Joy", accompanied by violinist Ian Richardson, followed by a medley of three Moravian carols.

As members of the audience joined together to sing "What Child Is This", the Queenswood United Church Choir took the stage to sing "Rock-A-Bye Bethlehem Baby" and "Calypso Carol".

The St. Peter Catholic High School Choir drew the first standing ovation of the evening with their performance of "Petit Papa Noel" featuring soloist Drew Plummer who was absolutely mesmerizing. They then earned a second standing ovation accompanied by violinist Sarah Als.

A short intermission then followed to allow for the collection of a freewill donation for the Gloucester Emergency Food Cupboard and the Orléans Cumberland Community Resource Centre food program. The Choirfest has raised over $85,000 for the two local charities over the years. This year's donations were expected to top $3,000.

After the break, the Divine Infant Roman Catholic Church Choir took the stage to sing "Born In The Fullness Of Time", followed by a Christmas version of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah".

The Cumberland Community Singers stuck to tradition with their performance of "Away In The Manger" and "Come And Adore", after which the audience once again joined together to sing "Angels We Have Heard On High".

The last choir to perform was the St. Helen's Anglican Church Choir which selected "Silent Night For All The World" and "He Just Had To Come Down" for their segment of the Choirfest.

As the audience rose to sing "Joy To The World", all 10 choruses filled the stage for a mass performance of "When Christmas Comes" and "Everywhere I Go" led by soloist Cathy Goddard.

The benediction was then read by Pastor Stephen Crilly from Community Pentecostal Church, after which the mass choir brought the choirfest to its traditional close with a soaring performance of "Peace Peace" accompanied by guests harpists Joanne Griffin and Heather Flinn.

This year's Choirfest was recorded by Roger's Channel 22 which will broadcast the concert at various times during the holiday season.

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



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