It’s been 10 years since their first concert, but members of the Emo Centennial Choir still are as enthusiastic as they were in 1998.
One member, in fact, has been a participant every single year while several others have taken part in most of the concerts.
The choir was formed in 1998 to help celebrate Emo’s 100th birthday. Since then, it has entertained the district with Christmas and Easter concerts in Emo and also at the Rainy River District Festival of the Performing Arts each April in Fort Frances.
“We have a solid core group that has sustained our choir over the years,” noted Renée Martin-Brown, its founder and conductor.
This year, the choir consists of 24 sopranos and altos, and two men. They have been rehearsing every Monday evening since early October for their upcoming concert, “Hark, A Glad Sound,” which will be performed this Monday (Dec. 8) at 7:30 p.m. at the Christian Reformed Church here in Emo.
“The number of men we have each year varies, depending on how involved the men are in other community activities,” noted Martin-Brown.
She and Lisa Vos, the choir’s accompanist, have selected an excellent mixture of Christmas music.
The program, which will consist of nine pieces by the choir, will include songs such as “Christmas Pipes” (a amazing Celtic song), “A Simple Stable” (a Calypso favourite), the well-known, “O Holy Night,” and “A Child of Peace and Love.”
“I’m really excited about this concert,” enthused Martin-Brown. “This will be our ninth Christmas concert in 10 years.
“We’ve only taken time off for weddings and pregnancies,” she added.
The choir will be joined this year by several volunteer instrumentalists.
Diane Veldhuisen, on flute, will accompany the choir on a couple of pieces, Elaine Mack will assist on percussion, while Kelsey Quibell will accompany on the violin.
While it has yet to be confirmed, the Rainy Lake Ringers, a group of handbell musicians conducted by Diane Maxey based in Fort Frances, also are expected to make a guest appearance Monday night, accompanying the choir on a piece entitled “Christmas is Coming.”
A free-will offering will be taken during the concert, with a majority of the proceeds to be given to the Emo Hospital Auxiliary Fund.
The Emo Centennial Choir would like you to accept this as your personal invitation to their concert. Come and listen to the joyful message of the Christmas story in music and words.