It was great to see so many folks come out to our 7th Annual Community Gospel & Christmas Music Night on November 17. There were 115 in attendance from all over town and they showed their Christmas spirit early by donating $ 1,110 to the Vegreville Food Bank. Each year, this event is held at a different church or charitable organization, and this year it was at the Maple Street Worship Centre.
The evening started at 6:30 pm with singing familiar Christmas Carols led by Sandy Tillotson with Carol Baldwin on piano. Carols included Go Tell it on the Mountain, Away in a Manger and Angels from the Realms of Glory.
Emcee Don Harfield of Perogies and Jam and Pastor Steve Williams of Maple Street Worship Centre welcomed everyone to the event at 6:45 pm on a clear and cool evening. It was interesting to note that their church hosted the first annual event in 2012 and over the past six years it has also been held at the Alliance Church, the United Church, the Sunshine Club and twice at the Lutheran Church. Charities in the past have included the Vegreville Daycare, the Philippines Disaster Relief Fund, the Crisis Association, V.A.L.I.D., and the Food Bank which all specifically help those in need in the Vegreville area or target an international disaster.
The Vegreville Youth Ensemble, led by Colleen Albert and Frank Albert accompanied on piano, sang lively renditions of Love the Lord Your God, Praise the Lord, Baby!, I’m Gonna Live Forever, This Little Light of Mine and Have a Merry One. The Youth Ensemble often changes each year as the youth grow up and new ones join.
The Debbie Fedoruk Singers were up next with Chelsea Malabanan singing Tell Me Shepherdess and Megan Hoyteniuk singing Mary Did You Know. Debbie sang Jesus, What a Wonderful Child accompanied by Colleen Albert on piano. Debbie is a vocal coach and piano instructor.
Lori Borstel accompanied by Ryan Baldwin on guitar, sang a countrified version of Victory in Jesus to an appreciative audience.
The Companions on the Journey, consisting of Lisa Topilko on cajon and guitar, Jim Bragg on guitar, Joanne Veldkamp on flute, and Janet Rowlands on piano, sang Twas in the Moon and Seek Ye First (as an audience round). The Companions on the Journey (of life) are a singing group at St. Mary’s Anglican Church in Vegreville with several changes in the group over the past 30 years.
At the break, Pastor Steve Williams and emcee Don Harfield were joined by Joanna Karczmarek who spoke about the Vegreville Food Bank. The Food Bank is a vital part of the support network in Vegreville providing much needed food supplies to those in need and provide information about other support groups in town. Grocery stores in town donate non-perishable food regularly to the Food Bank and the money raised this evening will go directly towards the purchase of additional food for their shelves. There is always a need for food donations and Christmas can be a particularly challenging time for some families.
The Alliance Church Choir led by Joan James came to the stage and sang portions of their upcoming musical “Everything Christmas Can Be”. Songs included the featured song by the same title, It’s Christmas, The Carolin’ Reel and Silent Night. For over 10 years, The Alliance Church has an annual Christmas musical stage performance in early December, so it was great to have a “sneak preview” of this year’s performance.
The St John’s Lutheran Singers accompanied by Colleen Albert on piano, consisted of Ashley Ziprick singing Dear Me, and Andrew Cook singing Jerusalem, the Holy City.
Pastor Steve Williams representing the Vegreville Ministerial Association had folks raise their hands indicating the many churches which were involved or attending this evening and then led the audience in a prayer for the community and leaders. Emcee Don Harfield announced that next year the Alliance Church will be hosting this popular event.
The evening of song was concluded with the audience singing of Joy to the World and Silent Night followed by Christmas pastries and other goodies.
Perogies and Jam thanks the many volunteers this evening including Ryan Baldwin, his son Jonnie and Ethan Williams on the sound and projection equipment, Anna Tomyn for the photography, Greeters Frank Skinner and Byron James, Cheryl and Ed Koloszko helping at the front desk and in the kitchen, and the many others behind the scenes preparing for the event.
Thank you all for helping us celebrate the upcoming Christmas season!
Photography by Anna Tomyn and Don Harfield