Lo­cal church choirs to sing in sup­port of Wool­wich Coun­selling at an­nual Com­mu­nity Christ­mas Cho­ral Cel­e­bra­tion

The Woolwich Observer - - LIVING HERE - VERON­ICA REINER

MANY OF THE AREA’S churches share not only the rea­son for the sea­son, but will be shar­ing a stage early next month. Some 100 voices will join to­gether to sing at the Com­mu­nity Christ­mas Cho­ral Cel­e­bra­tion in sup­port of the Wool­wich Coun­selling Cen­tre.

The gath­er­ing of Elmi­raarea church choirs is set for De­cem­ber 9 at Flo­radale Men­non­ite Church. While the event is free of charge, free-will do­na­tions will be ac­cepted.

“It’s go­ing to be a great night of cel­e­brat­ing and, most im­por­tantly, of course, is rais­ing funds for Wool­wich Coun­selling,” said Eileen Free­man, a fundraiser for the event. “Any­one is in­vited to sign up.”

Rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the Wool­wich Coun­selling Cen­tre (WCC) will also be there to ex­plain their ser­vices to the com­mu­nity, as well as help out with ush­er­ing peo­ple to their seats.

“The min­is­te­rial com­mit­tee has re­ferred to Wool­wich Coun­selling as ‘a nat­u­ral ex­ten­sion of the churches’ who of­ten pro­vide the nec­es­sary ini­tial sup­port and guid­ance when a com­mu­nity mem­ber is in dis­tress,” said Mary Wil­helm, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor at WCC. “The coun­selling cen­tre of­fers af­ford­able pro­fes­sional psy­chother­apy for in­di­vid­u­als of all ages, cou­ples, and fam­i­lies. The cen­tre also pro­vides a va­ri­ety of men­tal health and well­be­ing work­shops.”

Many church mem­bers par­tic­i­pate in this event.

“We’ve in­vited in­di­vid­ual mem­bers from any of the churches to join any of the churches that are the main­stay,” said Free­man. “I know sev­eral mem­bers from St. James Lutheran that are join­ing the Elmira Men­non­ite choir.”

The Cho­ral Cel­e­bra­tion is a nearly decade-long tra­di­tion, with the con­cert of­fered at a dif­fer­ent church in the com­mu­nity each year. It’s Flo­radale Men­non­ite’s turn for this out­ing.

“It’s for any­body that wants to come, and it’s just a gen­eral cel­e­bra­tion of the Christ­mas sea­son and a gen­eral com­mu­nity cel­e­bra­tion,” said Free­man. “Ev­ery church has taken turns host­ing it. Elmira Men­non­ite has hosted it; Gale Pres­by­te­rian hosted it last year, as well as Trin­ity United and St. Teresa. So it’s a real com­mu­nity event that brings ev­ery­one to­gether.”

The group will per­form a va­ri­ety of hymns in­ter­min­gled through­out the pro­gram. Christ­mas Peace Canon ar­ranged by Jean Anne Shaf­fer­man and When Christ­mas Comes by Joanna Sch­warz are ex­am­ples of songs on tap for the evening.

“The fi­nal se­lec­tion is sung in four-part har­mony by all the choirs; mu­si­cians and the con­gre­ga­tion join in, which be­comes a very ma­jes­tic and pow­er­ful ex­pe­ri­ence,” said Wil­helm.

“It’s quite amaz­ing,” added Free­man. “The group will be prac­tic­ing in the af­ter­noon on De­cem­ber 9 and then per­form­ing at 7 that night.”

The Com­mu­nity Christ­mas Cho­ral Cel­e­bra­tion will take place on De­cem­ber 9 at 22 Flo­rap­ine Rd., Flo­radale, start­ing at 7 p.m.

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