Thursday, July 24, 2014

Christmas cantata slated Sunday

Christmas is a time for community and family traditions, and one of those which many look forward to here is the annual Christmas cantata at St. Mary’s Church.
The popular event, which combines choral singing and recitation of passages to tell a Christmas story, is slated for this Sunday (Dec. 9) at 3 p.m.

A second performance is set for next Sunday (Dec. 16) at 3 p.m. at Zion Lutheran Church in International Falls.
Admission is free, but a free-will offering will be taken at the door.
This year’s cantata is entitled “Silent Night! Holy Night!” and cantata director Diane Maxey said her Fort Frances Choraliers are ready to lift listeners’ spirits once again.
“The voices make it just amazing, as usual,” said Maxey. “They’re amazing.
“Really, if I had the money, I’d take them on the road,” she added. “They can compete against pretty much any top-notch group.
“I’ve got so many non-readers [singers who can’t read music] in there,” noted Maxey. “But that’s what makes it exciting—they all pull together and there’s one magnificent sound.
“I just think it’s a thrill for an audience,” she enthused. “I know I would love to be out of my body and sitting at the back.
“There’s a lot of emotion in a lot of the songs. They’re beautiful,” Maxey continued.
“It’s contemporary, but still holding the Christmas message, which is really important,” she reasoned.
Maxey noted she hears time and again that the cantata marks the true start of the Christmas season for some people.
She is urging people from both sides of the border to attend either performance, adding the Choraliers have more and more singers from south of the border participating.
She added she’s talked to people from International Falls who have never been to the cantata before and once they heard it, said they can’t believe they had missed it for so many years.
This year’s group includes about 60 singers, including some new male voices.
“I am thrilled with them. They have such a lovely sound,” Maxey said. “They become more comfortable every year, I think, because we’re a real family now.
“Even though we get new members, they fit in so beautifully,” she stressed.
Sunday’s program will run a little over an hour.
Before the Choraliers enter the performance area, the audience will be treated to a few songs by quartet “Border Borealis.”
The Choraliers then will enter and ask the audience to join in a couple of traditional Christmas carols before launching into the cantata proper.
The cantata will be narrated by Mitchell Riordon for a third time this year.
“He’s a young guy and we’re thrilled to have him as our narrator,” said Maxey.
“He’s just a joy, and he’s such a nice boy.”
Both cantata performances will be followed by refreshments.

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