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Fort Macleod Rotary Club continues carol festival tradition

Laura Martin led the carolling Sunday during the 46th Rotary Carol Festival.

Fort Macleod sang the praises of the season Sunday night during the annual Rotary Carol Festival.
Throughout the year, Rotarians sing the praises of the Fort Macleod community.
“We are dedicated to this community,” Rotary Club president Gordon MacIvor said. “We’re doing everything we can.”
The carol festival returned to the Fort Macleod social scene on Sunday night after a one-year absence.
Inclement weather last year forced the Rotary Club to cancel the event, which typically attracts hundreds of people to the F.P. Walshe school gymnasium.
“We had to cancel it just because the weather was so bad,” Macivor said.
It was clear Sunday night the carol festival didn’t miss beat even though it missed a year as hundreds of people again filled the school gym.
Master of ceremonies John Viens kept the festival moving along briskly as he filled in for Dr. Sebastian David, who traditionally fills the MC role.
Laura Martin loaned her beautiful voice to the role of sing-along leader, guiding the audience through a selection of carols as the choirs filed on and off stage. Martin was accompanied by Susan Wilde on the keyboard.
After Pastor Wade Koenen gave an opening prayer and the F.P. Walshe school band played O Canada, the festival began.
The Welcome Mat Singers opened the festival with Star Bright and Christmas Island. The accompanist was Audrey Burton.
Then the Trinity United Church choir sang Comfort and Joy and What A Wonderful Child. Marj Hart was the accompanist.
The choir from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints First Ward, directed by JoAnn Whitehead with accompaniment from Virginia Parker, performed Shepherd Leave Thy Sheep and The First Noel.
Fort Macleod Alliance Church choir, directed by petula Hofer and accompanied by Chelsea Nieboer, then performed A Baby Changes Everything and Gloria Medley.
The F.P. Walshe school band, which included musicians from Matthew Halton school in Pincher Creek and was directed by Rick Bullock, then performed Fate of the Gods and How the Grinch Stole Christmas.
The choir from the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Second War then sang While Shepherds Watch Their Flocks By Night and O Come All Ye Faithful. Director was Melanie Bremner and accompanist was Susan Foote.
Christ Church Anglican’s choir then took the stage to sing Light One Candle/The Joy of Christmas and O Come Divine Messiah. Carole Cressman was the accompanist.
Holy Cross Catholic Church choir, directed by Heather Hamacher and accompanied by Charlene Furman, then sang It’s Still the Greatest Story Ever Told and Silent Night/Hail Mary.
The festival concluded in the traditional way, with Rotarians, their spouses and friends, accompanied by Susan Wilde, singing Let There Be Peace On Earth.
“Rotary is privileged to be doing this for the 46th year,” MacIvor said.
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