It has been a part of Lacombe’s Christmas tradition for the better part of the last six decades.
On Dec. 3 and 4, the Rotary Club of Lacombe, assisted by the Lacombe Daybreak Rotary Club, will be holding the 58th annual Christmas Carol Festival at the Lacombe Memorial Centre.
Bev Randell, one of the lead organizers of this year’s event, has been involved with the festival for about 15 years. He said that the long-standing tradition is one way the Rotary Club hopes to enhance the community’s Christmas spirit.
“We’re adding to making Christmas a special time of year,” said Randell. “Just another way of building community spirit.”
Only four years after forming, the Lacombe Rotary Club began hosting the festival in 1955. Randell said it was and still is done as a way to provide an opportunity for local music groups and choirs to perform for the public.
At that time all the local churches had choirs. Now, there are fewer choirs and fewer student concerts in the schools, he added.
Nonetheless it is still a popular event today.
Randell said that there is still a great turnout for the festival every year. He said there is always a full house and sometimes even a little “overflow.”
Preparation in the earlier days was very different as well.
Randell said it was days of baking cookies and making sandwiches for the ladies and there were hundreds of tin stars, made from old Esso oil cans, cut out to decorate the hall.
Randell said he is disappointed that there are less music programs in schools and fewer choirs in the community than there once were. He said he sees music as a way for people to improve all facets of themselves and not just in the arts sectors.
While Randell and the Rotarians may not be able to do much in way of changing that, he said they are glad to provide a venue to those who still do wish to partake in musical endeavors.
“We can at least provide a venue for those people who are still trying to have music in the community,” said Randell. “Music is still fun and it’s something we should encourage any way we can. We (the Rotarians) do this to a small degree with (the festival).”
The Christmas Carol Festival will be held at 7 p.m. on Dec. 3 and 4 at the Lacombe Memorial Centre. Admission is free but food bank items or cash donations to the food bank will be accepted to help meet the increased demands of the Christmas season.