Over 650 people experienced the joy of the season as they were entertained by Sylvan Lake’s sacred massed choir during their two main concerts Sunday at the Alliance Community Church.
The choir presented Our King Has Come, the joyful sounds of Christmas, directed by Kerry Heisler.
The group, which numbered about 70 people this year, had already performed at the Festival of Trees in Red Deer, Sylvan Lake Lodge and the Spirit of Sylvan Yuletide Festival. If you’ve missed them, there’s still a chance to see this beautiful performance on Sunday (Dec. 8) at Memorial Presbyterian Church at 10:30 a.m.
At each of the concerts Sunday, the choir was preceded by various musical groups. Taking part in the afternoon choir were the hand bell choir from Sylvan Meadows Adventist School, directed by Skyla McCreery; École H. J. Cody School choir, directed by Kerry Heisler and accompanied by Darla Bell; Benwood Strings, accompanied and directed by Ruth Cowan; and C. P. Blakely Elementary School choir, directed by Jeff Renfrew. In the evening, the concert also featured Memorial Presbyterian Church choir, directed by Dolce Moir and accompanied by Cheri Kay and Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic Church Filipino Choir, directed by Jenny Fernandez.
Vocal soloists during the sacred massed choir’s performance included Kerry Heisler, Sean Neergaard, Joan Ree, Jodi Hinshaw, Chris Stiles, Sonja Johanson, Helen Gottemaker, Janeve Masson, June Pearson and Rhonda McKerracher.
The master of ceremonies was Pastor Barry Sigurdson of Lighthouse Fellowship Church of the Nazarene.
This year marked the 26th for the annual Inter-Church Sacred Christmas Concert.
At last year’s concert some of the history was related. In the spring of 1988, Sylvan Lake Extended Care Society contacted the various churches to see if they would consider putting on a Christmas concert as a fundraiser, according to the history compiled by Dolce Moir and Naomi Hilman. “Their goal was to have a quality care facility in Sylvan Lake.”
“Representatives from all the churches, along with community members who loved to sing, organized a massed choir. They pledged to always sing music that would reflect the story of Christ’s birth. The concerts also gave school choirs and bands, children’s groups, and church choirs an opportunity to perform Christmas music.
“The concert has coincided with the first week of Advent, being the beginning of December, to remind the community that ‘Jesus is the reason for the season’.”
Through the first 25 years, Kathy Inglis said close to $40,000 was raised for a variety of organizations. They included the Extended Care Society, Bibles for Grads, Christmas Bureau, Sylvan Lake Food Bank, Gale Hilman Fund, Bethany Care Society, Sylvan Community Housing Society, Community Partners Compassion Fund and Central Alberta Hospice.
This year, donations will be directed to Bibles for Grads, Community Partners Compassion Fund, Sylvan Lake Food Bank and Sylvan Lake Christmas Bureau.
Participating churches included Alliance Community Church, Apostolic Lutheran Church, Benalto Baptist Church, Bentley Grace Lutheran Church, Church of the Nazarene, Faith Lutheran Church, Frontline Worship Centre, Gospel Chapel, Memorial Presbyterian Church, Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic Church, St. Mary’s and St. Timothy’s Anglican Church and Seventh-day Adventist Church