The Agassiz United Church is full with the voices of the mass choir as they practice the African Alleluia in preparation for the 50th annual Community Carol Festival on Dec. 14. Nina Grossman/The Observer

Fifty years of Agassiz carols

Church choirs, school choirs and community members to sing at 50th Carol Festival

This December marks the 50th year that choirs, community members and musicians from Agassiz and Harrison have come together to tell the Christmas story. Hosted by the Agassiz Harrison Ministerial Association, the 50th annual Community Carol Festival unites over 100 voices to celebrate the story behind the Christmas season.

This year, recently retired Agassiz Christian School principal John Zuidhof will conduct the approximately 50-person mass choir.

“I’ve always been involved in school and music and community,” he says. “I think just the fact that there’s a great cross-section of people from various churches, from the community, and they all come together for this express purpose. I think it’s a wonderful time to be able to come together for that.”

Some of the mass choir’s scheduled songs include the African Alleluia and the Canadian Huron Carol, to honour the country’s 150th birthday. School choirs and the Agassiz Elementary Secondary School’s band will also join in on the festivities.

“The one we do with the children’s choir is called Peace on Earth,” Zuidhof says. “It’s really neat to have that combination of the adult choir plus this year [the] two children’s school choirs.”

“That’s always a highlight of the program,” he adds.

The final performance is always Silent Night, and as per tradition, the audience is encouraged to join the choirs in singing the well-loved carol.

Organizer Brian Harding has been involved with the Carol Festival for about 35 years. He says initially it was held in local churches until it became too big and had to be moved to the Agricultural Hall.

“We still draw heavily on the churches in town for singers but it’s expanded beyond churches so the community members also join in to sing the carols,” he says, adding that in past years Sts’ailes and Seabird Island schools participated as well.

“It’s magical,” he says. “There aren’t too many events in this town that go 50 years in a row.”

The event has a Christian emphasis, Harding adds, but is enjoyable for everybody. “They are Christmas carols and we aim at the nativity story,” he says. “But it’s not overbearing if not a person of faith.”

The Community Choir Festival is open to the public and will be held Dec. 14 at 7 p.m. at the Agricultural Hall in Agassiz. Donations for the Agassiz Harrison Community Services’ food bank will be accepted at the event.

The bass and baritone singers practice their part for the 50th Carol Festival at Agassiz’s Agricultural Hall. The mass choir is composed of church choirs and community members from Agassiz and Harrison. Nina Grossman/The Observer

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

5 to 10 cm of snow still coming to Fraser Valley: Environment Canada

Hard to say when the freezing rain will turn to regular rainfall, Environment Canada says

EDITORIAL: Honouring Kent’s history

Former editor Grace Kennedy reflects on the special edition for the 125th anniversary

Mount Woodside bike trail planning underway

With this week’s Council approval, planning can begin

FVRD WildSafe wraps up season

Black bears biggest source of calls in district

PHOTOS: Sts’Ailes students scale glaciers as part of mountain skills and wilderness program

‘It’s not just about taking kids hiking, it’s actually about connecting them to the land’

After cashing in on QB gambles, Chiefs and 49ers to clash in Super Bowl

KC beats Tennessee, San Francisco dispatches Green Bay to reach NFL title game

VIDEO: SPCA and RCMP remove several animals, including pig, at private animal rescue in Langley

Home at 5500 block of 216th Street has undergone multiple seizures over the past five years

B.C. VIEWS: Few clouds on Horgan’s horizon

Horgan’s biggest challenge in the remainder of his term will be to keep the economy humming along

Victoria family focuses on ‘letting go, enjoying time together’ after dad gets dementia

Walter Strauss has developed an interest in music and now takes line dancing classes

B.C. forest industry grasps for hope amid seven-month strike, shutdowns, changes

Some experts say this could be worse for forestry than the 2008 financial crisis

Northern B.C. RCMP investigating alleged sexual assault in downtown Smithers

One person was transported by ambulance to hospital following RCMP investigation at Sedaz

Vancouver police probe second homicide in less than 24 hours

Woman was found dead in her Gastown home

UBC, Iranian-Canadian community create memorial scholarship in honour of victims

The Jan. 8 crash killed 176 people, including 57 Canadians

Most Read