Newfoundland and Labrador Youth in Chorus kicked the Christmas Season into high gear tonight at Cochrane Street United Church in St. John's Downtown.
The bright red ribbons, colorfully decorated trees and the lush greens of the garland in the dim lights makes for intimate venue. This was the first year that Kristine and I have managed to snag a seat on the main floor. We normally watch from the balcony.
This year's Shallaway concert was entitled "Snow Angel: A Celebration of Traditional Christmas Music featuring a special guest, Alison Nicholas, soprano. She is an accomplished Shallaway alumna who thrilled the choir and the audience with Handel's Come Unto Him, which is from Messiah.
Aidan is in his eighth year and Conor is in his fifth year as choristers with Shallaway. The annual Christmas Concert is a family tradition. It marks the start of our Christmas season.
While I really enjoyed the entire show, in particular the opportunities provided for the audience to join in, the most memorable performance of the night for me was Edward Elgar's - The Snow that featured festive violins.
Cochrane Street United is an incredible venue, the high ceilings and the Wesleyan architecture make for beautiful and joyful sounds. The four-manual Casavant pipe organ is the largest in the province and is recognized as one of the finest in eastern Canada.
It seems that the need for repairs grows every year. There is much evidence of leaks, chipped paint and in the past after a heavy rain parts of the balcony have been cordoned off. The small congregation is challenged to pay the bills, let a lone find the funds needed for restoration.
This year they announced that the they wish to convert the church's annex into 10 affordable housing units. It is hoped that the income from these units will help meet the fiscal challenges of continuing to operate.
For over a hundred and thirty years Cochrane Street United has made an incalculable cultural and community contribution to generations of people, of many denominations and faiths. Consider making a donation to the restoration fund, small or big, every nickel counts towards conserving this incredible example of our rich and irreplaceable built heritage.
Liam has been requesting we play Christmas music to get into the "mood" all weekend. Thanks to Cochrne Street Unite, we are all there now. Do your part this year and give away some of your treasure to ensure this venue remains for many generations to come.