St. Albert Carol Sing revives the roots of Christmas

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PREVIEW
St. Albert Community Carol Sing
Sunday, Dec. 17 at 3 p.m.
Arden Theatre
5 St. Anne Street
Free admission: St. Albert Food Bank donations welcomed

Each year the St. Albert Community Carol Sing held at the Arden Theatre fills the hall with people celebrating the beginnings of Christianity.

Organized by the St. Albert Ministerial Association, the Sunday, Dec. 17 event attracts residents of all denominations and promotes peace, hope, love and charity to all.

This year members from five churches are involved : St. Albert Catholic Parish, Holy Family Church, Sturgeon Valley Baptist Church, St. Albert United and Christian Reformed Church.

The carol sing started about 20 years ago as a series of scriptural readings interspersed with music. Through the decades it evolved and this season the concert’s anchor is a short playlet written by Neil M. Ross Elementary School music teacher Janice Manderson.

“It’s become much more a community event. It’s very special – all those people coming together. Christmas music is very moving. It gives hope and we need it at this time of year,” said June Mann, lead singer for The Chestnuts, the concert’s house band.

This year Manderson’s play is titled Christmas Gifts,  a tale about four girls who spend a gossipy day at the mall shopping. When they spot several angels, they cynically assume it’s a marketing gimmick. However, the angels decide it’s time to teach the girls the real meaning of Christmas.

“Each gift presents a virtue – faith, hope, joy, peace and love – and the story unfolds from there,” said Mark Guevarra, pastoral associate at St. Albert Catholic Parish and one of the carol sing’s drivers.

Ten of Manderson’s Grade 6 students are acting in this holiday pageant. They are Elise Coles, Elizabeth Desousa, Sophia Gerace, Lilyana Hug, Grace Raposo, Madison Razo, Kate Toruk-Both, Olivia Baker, Roshne Ballador and Molly Koehler.

“I’m so proud of these girls for giving up their time and in some cases working around regular activities to be in this play,” said Manderson. “When we get together, we’re all united and it’s magical.”

Four church choirs will add their voices. Holy Family Choir sings Angels From The Realms of Glory; Sturgeon Valley raises their voices in Peace, Peace; St Albert Catholic Choir presents Night of Silence, and St. Albert United joins in with Run Shepherds.

Additionally, Nathan Bootsma, Rick Dees, June Mann and Suzanne Vearstra add a fresh dimension with several heartwarming solos.

Mayor Cathy Heron will open the festivities. The City of St. Albert gave the Ministerial Association a $2,000 grant to put on the concert.

Guevarra said: “Every year when we ask for a renewal, they’ve been very generous. The role of a city is to build bridges and this is an opportunity to build bridges between churches. This is an opportunity to sing together and we invite everyone to join us.”

St. Albert Food Bank donations are gratefully accepted. In 2016, the carol sing collected $460 and 152 lbs. of dry goods and canned food.

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About Author

Anna Borowiecki

Anna Borowiecki joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2000. She reports on local people and events in the arts, entertainment and food industry. She also writes general news and features.