A rich and spirited local tradition continues forth this year with the 37th annual Cranbrook Elementary Mass Choir Concert, where 350 grade four to six students from all nine elementary schools in Cranbrook will sing carols at the Alliance Church on Wednesday, December 6 at 7:00 p.m.
Patti Radies has been music teacher at Amy Woodland Elementary for 29 years and during that time she has only missed one year of the mass choir. She is one of five organizers that have over 20 years with the tradition.
“I don’t know if it happens anywhere else in the province that all these schools get together and we practise in our own schools for up to six weeks ahead of time,” said Radies. “We get one practise that morning and we put everybody together. So it’s a real Christmas blessing to see this all come together and the Alliance Church has been so accommodating.”
The venue has changed over the years, from beginning in the old Mount Baker Gym, to moving to the College until they outgrew it and moved to their new home at the Alliance Church.
“The Alliance Church has very graciously welcomed us to their facility. They go out of their way to accommodate us, get things set up and work behind the scenes; doing our sound and lighting.”
Radies explained that they mainly focus on traditional Christmas carols, as she feels that tradition is somewhat lost these days amidst all the new Christmas music, but they do throw in more upbeat carols as well.
The tradition has been going on so long, Radies explained, that some students’ parents have also performed in Mass Choir.
“A lot of people in the community feel that this is the start of the Christmas season,” she said. “They always
want to know when Mass Choir is.”
Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and donations collected in support of the Cranbrook Salvation Army. Additionally, specialty coffees will be for sale, the proceeds of which going towards the school breakfast program.
With this concert kicking off the Christmas season, there are many other opportunities to enjoy the music of the season.
See below for the list of Cranbrook’s elementary school Christmas concerts and events:
Pinewood — December 19 in the school gym at 1:15 p.m.
Kootenay Orchards — December 20 at the school at 1:00 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.
Highlands Elementary School — December 20 at Key City Theatre at 7:00 p.m.
TM Roberts — Three concerts on December 15 at 9:00 a.m., 10:45 a.m. and 1:15 p.m.
Kootenay Christian Academy — December 19 at 1:30 p.m. and December 20 at 6:30 p.m.
Steeples — December 19 at 1:30 p.m.
Gordon Terrace’s — December 21 at 1:20 p.m.
St. Mary’s has a family night with Christmas crafts the evening of December 14.