What a great evening! There were 175 faithful who came to share their love of gospel and Christmas music at St. John’s Lutheran Church on Saturday, November 18. The great folks also showed their heart for the community by donating $ 1,432 to the Vegreville Crisis Association.
This was the 6th annual Perogies and Jam Gospel & Christmas Music Night and it is becoming a Vegreville tradition. Each year, this event is held at a different church or charitable organization, and this year it was wonderful to help celebrate the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther and the start of the Reformation at our local Lutheran church.
The evening started with folks being greeted by the sounds of Christmas Carols as they entered the church building. Emcee Don Harfield gave a warm welcome to the attendees at 6:20 pm as the seats filled up and the program started.
The Vegreville Youth Ensemble led by Colleen Albert took to the stage and sang Joshua Fought the Battle of Jericho, Goliath and Let there be Peace on Earth. This was followed by Debbie Fedoruk`s piano accompaniment of her singers Odelia with the Battle Belongs to the Lord, Chelsea with What Child is This and Abigail singing Living Water. Then, accompanied by Colleen Albert on piano, Debbie sang In Christ Alone.
The Maple Street Worship group consisting of Pastor Steve Williams (lead guitar), his two songs Logan (bass guitar) and Ethan (drums), and Ryan Baldwin (acoustic guitar) accompanied Lori Borstal as she sang a contemporary version of the traditional hymn Victory in Jesus. Pastor Steve then lead the group in two “reverent blues” songs, Praising the Lord and Let’s Make a Baby King. The audience enthusiastically kept to the bluesy beat by hearty clapping and toe tapping.
Randy Kereliuk performed two Johnny Reid country songs, Winter Star and A Picture of You, which put the audience in a reflective thoughtful mood. Rod Wereziuk and his daughter Meghan performed three country duets, Angel By Your Side, Lord I Need You, and Broken Halos.
Emcee Don Harfield introduced Pastor Darryl Crocker who briefly spoke about the churches in the local Ministerial Association and then introduced Pastor Steve Williams of the Maple Street Worship Centre, and Pastors Sangrog Choi and James Kim of the St. John’s Lutheran Church.
Don Harfield introduced Celenka Krawczyk of the Vegreville Crisis Association and Jenny Cooper of Victim Services. Celenka explained that the Crisis Association began in 1986 and provides immediate help to people in distress and impacted by suicide and family violence in our community. Jenny Cooper explained that Victim Services works in partnership with the RCMP and alongside the Crisis Association to provide immediate crisis intervention and referrals support. Don added that the needs of hurting people in our community are often unnoticed and that the donations this evening help the two organizations provide these essential services. Celenka expressed grateful appreciation for the generosity of the folks attending this evening and of how this financial help makes a significant difference to their operation.
After a socializing break, the Alliance Church group came on stage. With Joan James on keyboard, and Brian Esak on electric bass guitar. Anita Lemko, on acoustic guitar, sang her moving original song, Gospel of John. Joan James then led the singers in two jazz styled songs, Old Church Choir and To Hold a Saviour, accompanied by professionally prepared soundtracks. These songs will be part of their popular annual Cantata event to be held at the Alliance Church on the evenings of December 13 & 15 and on the Sunday afternoon December 17.
Ashley Ziprick and Colleen Albert, on piano, sang the duet Forever (We Sing Hallelujah). This was followed by Dave Cox performing an original 1950’s rock style song entitled I Love You. Ashley Ziprick led the St. John’s Lutheran Singers (adult choir) in a contemporary song, We Believe, which included portions of the Apostle’s Creed. Debbie Fedoruk then invited the audience to stand and join in singing the song, A Mighty Fortress is Our God, which included two horns accentuating the melodic theme. With the Lutheran choir still on stage, the audience joined in singing Silent Night and ending with Joy to the World.
Emcee Don Harfield was joined by Pastor Steve Williams to thank the musicians, the St. John Lutheran Church and the attendees for their love of Christmas music and their generosity in the evening’s donations. Pastor Steve invited the audience to come to the Maple Street Worship Centre next year for the Gospel and Christmas Music Night. Colleen Albert and Don Harfield then invited everyone to go downstairs for snacks and refreshments courtesy of St. John’s Lutheran Church.
Perogies and Jam thanks the many volunteers that helped make this a meaningful event including the greeters Yvonne Fischer and Mary Ryan, the sound system attendants Aiden, Kathy and Darren, our photographer Anna Tomyn, the food preparers, and the many other contributors of the event.
What a great evening to celebrate the upcoming Christmas season!
Photography by Anna Tomyn