After a year’s hiatus, the Snow Lake Book Club (SLBC) once again organized the Annual Christmas Concert.In keeping with their interrupted tradition, the 2018 event stayed balanced within a manageable timeframe and featured a variety of ten entertaining acts.
After ending 2017 without capping the month of December off with this longstanding seasonal staple, the ladies of the Book Club came back with a vengeance and started early to fill the slots within their schedule. The 2017 event wasn’t held because of an inability to nail down enough performers for the given night.
This isn’t the first time this has happened. The concert was resurrected in 2014 by the SLBC, which was then made up of Joanne Bradley, Cathy Stabback, Bernadine Fourier, Mary Ann Otto and Leone Jackson. Since this time, Bradley has left Snow Lake and Roxane Lamontagne is now a member.
The 2014 concert came into being after Ms. Stabback brought it up for discussion one night during a book club meeting. All the ladies agreed that it warranted further discussion and, as a result, it became a topic each time they met and became a goal that would see fruition on the night of Friday, December 5, 2014. From the success of that event and through the urging of many in the community, subsequent concerts held the same format, and with four concerts now under their collective belt, the Book Club has made this event their own.
The evening began with emcee Mary Ann Otto welcoming an audience that looked to top 150. She introduced Mayor Peter Roberts, who brought greetings from fellow council members and staff at the Town of Snow Lake. Otto wasted little time in introducing the first performance of the 2018 lineup. They were the children of the Northern Tykes Day Care, singing “I’m a Little Pine Tree” and “Santa Was His Name-O,” the former had the little folks accompanying the tune with actions. There was a collection of the wary and the somewhat bold on the stage, along with coordinator Alexandra Hornyak and several parent helpers. There’s something to be said about the joyful sound of children singing just a little off key, but with such enthusiasm… it reminds us of what Christmas is about.
The second and third performers were Dylan Trudeau and Ricki Semaniuk, both played piano. Master Trudeau played “Jingle Bells” and Miss Semaniuk chose “Up On The Housetop.” Both these wee folk have a future on the instrument and will undoubtedly show off new skills at future events.
The fourth act was Carol Denby, who sang “Mary’s Boy Child” while playing guitar. Ms. Denby is no stranger to Snow Lake audiences or to the annual Christmas Concert. Her warm voice and fine playing drew a loud round of applause from the audience.
Perennial favorite Jennifer Pakula followed Ms. Denby to the stage. She played “Jingle Bell Boogie” on the trumpet, coaxing some wonderful notes out of her brass. Closing out the first half of the show, Val Foord delivered a poem called “Conrad’s Christmas Guest” while Elissa Bogdan provided background organ music. This heartfelt recitation was well received by concert goers.
During the 15 minute intermission, the Book Club sold coffee, hot apple cider, and baking, with all the proceeds going to the Community Library. As well, Cathy Stabback recited a Stuart McLean story during the break.
When folks were back in their seats, Ms. Otto drew for three door prizes, which were donated by the Snow Lake Community Library and the Snow Lake Pharmacy. The winners were: Dianna Bartley, Kim Marsollier and Kylie Bogdan.
Moving on with the program, Jennifer Pakula was out for a reprise performance, only this time, her amazing voice was her instrument. She sang “That’s Christmas to Me” and the crowd responded with loud appreciation.
Following Ms. Pakula, a performer who needed little introduction took her spot in front of the mic. Former resident Lola Leclair was always a Snow Lake crowd favorite. Showing little has changed in the years she’s been away, folks cheered loudly at the conclusion of her three song set. Leclair noted that she had been asked several times to perform at the concert and was pleased to be able to make it home this year to do so.
Next up, newcomer, Rosemarie Reid sang “Rocking around the Christmas Tree.” A fine voice and great stage presence earned Ms. Reid resounding applause.
The final act of the night was a group made up of Jennifer Pakula, Bev Krul, Elissa Bogdan, Heidi Geloa, Toyosi Andennusi and Tony Butt. They sang three well appreciated songs; however, the last entrée, “Silent Night” was sung by the five ladies in the group, acapella. They left the crowd with goosebumps and a sense of anticipation about when they’d get to hear them do it again.
The proceeds from the door and confections totalled $682 and it was donated, in its entirety, to the Snow Lake Community Library. On a closing note, hats off to Tony Butt and Terry Hornyak who brought the show together with their work on stage and behind the sound board.