4:30 p.m., Dec. 2)
Christmas Choirfest raises $3,600 for local food banks
By Fred Sherwin
of the Queenswood United Church choir perform
during the 30th annual Orléans Christmas
Choirfest on Sunday, Fred Sherwin/Photo
Each year for the past 30 years, church choirs from across
the east end have gathered together to celebrate the Christmas
season through song and scripture while raising thousands
of dollars for the less fortunate in our community.
year, being the 30th anniversary, was no exception as
four youth ensembles and five adult choirs took part in
the annual Orléans Christmas Choirfest at the Community
Pentecostal Church on Sunday, raising $3,800 for the Orleans-Cumberland
Food Bank and the Gloucester Emergency Food Cupboard in
four youth choirs joined as one to kick off the concert
by singing Hark the Herald Angels Sing. The
Cross Town Youth Chorus, the Divine Infant Childrens
Choir and the Orleans United Junior Choir all briefly departed
the stage, leaving the Sonshine Singers to perform Rejoice
With Exceeding Great Joy led by Cathy, Trinette,
Victoria and Christina Goddard.
Sonshine Singers are a wonderful amalgam of able-bodied
and mental and physically challenged children and young
adults who all share a love for music and provide
one of the highlights of the Choirfest year after year.
a reading of Isaiah 40 verses 1-11, prophesying the birth
of Jesus, the Cross Town Youth Chorus senior members took
to the main stage to sing Christmas Jig
before being joined by the junior members for Les
were followed on stage by the Divine Infant Childrens
Choir which sang How Many Kings and the Orleans
United Junior Choir which chose to perform Rise
Up, You Shepherds.
of the neat elements of the Christmas Choirfest is the
opportunity it provides for the audience to become part
of the performance by joining together to sing
traditional carols between each choir starting with O
Come All Ye Faithful.
first adult choir to perform on Sunday was the Orleans
United Church choir which chose O Magnum Mysterium
and Children, Go Where I Send Thee for their
two numbers. O Magnum Mysterium is a baroque composition
written in the 16th century, while Children, Go
Where I Send Thee is a traditional African-American
the Orleans United Church Choir made way on stage for
the Cumberland Community Singers, the audience rose as
one to sing What Child is This, which was
then followed by a reading of Luke 2, verses 8-12 in which
a host of angels announce the birth of Jesus to shepherds
guarding their flocks.
reading was the perfect intro to the Cumberland Community
Singers who sang Merry Christmas Madrigal,
arranged with additional lyrics by Mary Ryan, followed
by the old German carol Good Christmas All, Rejoice.
up on stage was the choir from St. Helens Anglican
Church in Queenswood Heights who sang Born in the
Fullness of Time along with the traditional old
English composition, Sussex Carol.
the audience rose once again to sing Hark the Herald
Angels Sing a freewill collection was taken during
which $3,340 was collected for the two community food
main program was soon resumed with the Queenswood United
Church choirs performance of Silent Night,
Silent World with Sally Albrecht and Jay Althouse
singing lead, followed by Good Will to All featuring
the voices of Don Besig and Nancy Price.
last chorus to take the stage was the Divine Infant Roman
Catholic Church choir, which sang an adapted version of
the African Folk Song African Sanctus, followed
by a mash up of O Come All Ye Faithfull and
You Raise Me Up arranged by choir director
their solo performance, the Divine Infant choir was joined
on stage by the rest of the choruses to sing O Night
Divine and Soon and Very Soon which
has become a Christmas Choirfest staple.
event was then brought to a close with the mass choirs
singing Peace, Peace accompanied by harpist
Joanne Griffin and members of the Community Pentecostal
and Gloucester Community Concert bands. They were led by the
Choirfests founder and principal organizer Lynne
Stacey who directed the mass choir for the very first
$3,340 in donations collected during the event brings
the total amount raised over the past 30 years to more
than $100,000 which is a tribute to Stacey and her
dedicated organizing committee.
Choirfest was taped by Rogers, which will be broadcasting
the event over the coming days and weeks. Check your local
listings for the exact date and time.
story was made possible thanks to the generous support
of our local business partners.)
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