The 40-member Community Christmas Carol Festival mass choir sings “Tell the News” along with Agassiz school choirs on Dec. 12 at the Agricultural Hall, led by festival organizer and Agassiz United Church music director Brian Harding. (Karissa Gall/The Observer)

Do you hear what I hear? Hundreds attend 52nd annual Agassiz carol festival

Holiday carolers sang the night away and raised almost $2,000 for the food bank

Several hundred holiday carolers came together at the 52nd annual Community Christmas Carol Festival in Agassiz, held on Dec. 12 at the Agricultural Hall.

The carol festival began with a prelude performed by the Agassiz Secondary School Band and an opening prayer.

RELATED: Carol festival returns to Agassiz for 52nd year

Hundreds of people attended the 52nd annual Community Christmas Carol Festival on Dec. 12 at Agassiz’s Agricultural Hall. (Karissa Gall/The Observer)

Festival organizer and Agassiz United Church music director Brian Harding then led the 40-member mass choir in song — hymns “Poor Little Jesus” and “Long Ago on a Winter’s Morning” to start.

Kiel Magis performs the only solo of the evening, singing “O Holy Night” by Adolf Adam. (Karissa Gall/The Observer)

Choirs from St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church, Central Community Church, Unity Christian School, Kent Elementary, Agassiz Christian School, United Church and Christian Reformed Church also performed, as did musical members of the VandeBurgt family and soloist Kiel Magis.

Kent Elementary music teacher Nathanael Laws used conductor gestures during his choir’s performance of “Christmas of Peace,” to remind students of mouth positioning that improves vocal range. (Karissa Gall/The Observer)

Per tradition, retired Agassiz Christian School principal John Zuidhof led the audience in singing 12 carols between performances and joining the mass choir’s rendition of “Silent Night” at the end.

John Zuidhof leads the audience in singing the “Angels from the Realms of Glory” carol as the mass choir sets themselves up to sing the “Coventry Carol.” (Karissa Gall/The Observer)

Christian School kindergarten and Grade 1 teacher Melanie Victor also encouraged audience participation during her young choir’s heartwarming performance of “A Christmas Hallelujah,” adapted from “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen.

Agassiz Christian School kindergarten and Grade 1 teacher Melanie Victor leads her choir in singing “A Christmas Hallelujah,” which included several duets by young students. (Karissa Gall/The Observer)

Collection baskets were passed through the crowd during the free event and Father Dennis Flores of St. Anthony’s Catholic Church announced that $1,902.85 was raised for the Agassiz-Harrison Community Services Food Bank.

“The people are so generous,” Flores said.

As per tradition, the carol festival ended with audience members standing up and singing “Silent Night” along with the mass choir. (Karissa Gall/The Observer)

Watch the video below to see some of the performances, recorded as part of our Facebook Live broadcast from the carol festival.

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