Christmas cantata spreads festive spirit

More than 200 people filled St. Mary’s Church here Sunday afternoon to enjoy the sounds of season at the 11th-annual Christmas cantata.
The 72 members of the Choraliers performed the cantata, entitled “Hope was Born,” which told the story of the birth of Jesus through song and narration.
“I am so proud to have been involved with them,” said choir director Diane Maxey. “I think it was awesome. They enjoyed it and I enjoyed it.”
The community choir, which features members from across the district, received a standing ovation for their efforts. Maxey said that was a testament to the hard work of the group, which has only been rehearsing for a few weeks.
“They have beautiful voices. I’m just thrilled,” she enthused.
Cecil Duffy, who has narrated the program since it began, said he can’t imagine a Christmas without the cantata.
“I look forward to it. It sort of sets the stage for Christmas,” he explained.
Colleen Cote has been a member of the Choraliers on and off for the past five years. “It’s just wonderful to sing,” she said. “It just gets you in the mood for Christmas.”
Throughout the hour-long performance, Cote’s white seeing-eye dog, “Gracie,” sat at her feet in the front row of the choir, quietly sleeping as the festive carols floated over her head.
This was the first year Pat Bird, her daughter, Denise Hyatt, and granddaughter, Natalie, made it to the performance.
“I always wanted to come and never have been able to until this year,” said Bird. “It was wonderful.”
“I didn’t know it would be a story,” noted Hyatt. “I think the carols were very nice.”
Natalie, six, also said she liked the Christmas carols best.
Before the sound equipment could be taken down, or all the choir members had shuffled back to their cars, Maxey already was looking forward to future performances, such as the Easter cantata and another concert in the spring.
“It’s wonderful,” she said. “Next year I hope to get even more members.”