THUNDER BAY, ON - December 7, 2009 - Rev. Deborah Kraft gets excited about Charles Dickens’ Classic Christmas Carol. It is a human tale as true as in Dickens’ coal smudged England as it is in the streets of Thunder Bay. The story is about a man who after a loss becomes completely isolated from the world around him, except for the world of commerce. As the anniversary of his old friend’s death approaches, he undergoes a series of transformations that gradually reconnect him with his family, employees, neighbours and so on. In the end he learns how to live once again.
This is a traditional Christmas tale, and this year like others we need to be reminded to reconnect with the people in our lives if we are to live well ourselves.
The event is hosted in different CBC cities across Canada for about the past 20 years, and in our city CBQ has hosted the traditional reading at St. Paul’s Anglican Church on Ridgeway Street for at least the past 15 years. The pattern is always the same, there are five different readings or staves in the “Carol” and between the readings a choir has sung from the back of the church, high up in the balcony.
Jason Scriver, Director of Music at St. Paul’s directed his church choir in a selection of contemporary Christmas selections. This event is important to the congregation of St. Paul’s and the church choir is anxious to contribute. This will be the last season for Jason as Music director at the church. He will be retiring in the New Year. The St. Paul’s Choir shared their balcony with the Solstice singers, who have provided music for this event for many years. I received some concert feedback from someone who attended the reading. She describes the special atmosphere this way.
“I just wanted to send an email saying that I attended the reading of a Christmas Carol at St Paul's and the Solstice Singers were fantastic last night! What heavenly voices and what a wonderful addition to the story and atmosphere.”
The reading has been traditionally read with the lights turned down low, the readers faces can only be seen because of the reflected light from their reading lamp. This helps create the atmosphere for the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future. CBQ’S Cathy Alex is an old hand at this event and reserved the reading of the final stave for herself!
Each year this reading reminds us all to be kinder to our neighbours and the people we love. It raises much needed funds for Shelter House and the Local United Way campaign. Judy Madren’s concept, a national reading of this carol has raised millions for the needy over the past 20 years. On the same night once a year, in Anglican Churches across Canada, thousands of people will be listening to the same story at the same time, and at the same time doing a little to help someone in need. That’s the gift of public radio.
Arts Editor: LakeSuperiorNews.com