Beyond the Singing

Since October, Ola and I have been driving to the other side of Edmonton every other Sunday to sing with 170-some others because this year, in less than three days, we will be part of the Edmonton Singing Christmas Tree (:  I hadn't heard of it before Mandy asked if I wanted to go with her and Lilia last year...and I'm so glad she did! Since starting university, Ola and I often talked about having a craving to be part of a bigger production again (we both took Performing Arts in high school) and looked for a non-intense choir or performing arts group to join with not much luck so naturally, I recruited her to sign up with me for the Singing Christmas Tree (:

The show was spectacular; from the choir standing in the massive tree to the talented soloists to the sheer variety of acts, including ballerinas, dancing santas, and one passionate violinist; it was an awesome way to get into the Christmas spirit while supporting local charities! All funds raised by the Singing Christmas Tree performances are distributed to various local charities; last year, they donated to big, widely known organizations like the Edmonton Food Bank and Santas Anonymous, but also instruments to elementary schools. One elementary school principal has let us use her school's gym as our rehearsal space this year for no cost because she felt grateful for the donation last year. Below is my favourite from last year: an acapella mash-up of the classic Twelve Days of Christmas. We re-watched this at our last rehearsal on Sunday and I had that shiver-y, tingle-y feeling when I watch  or hear something amaaaaaazing. Have I convinced you yet? Haha (: If you're a country music fan, you'll likely be swayed by Brett Kissell performing as our special guest!

For the first few rehearsals, Ola and I went, sang, talked to each other and left. I saw the practices as all business and didn't make any effort to talk to the people beside me. But over the last few rehearsals, I've met the some of the nicest people; from an immensely talented seventeen-year-old soloist, who has a voice that makes me want to stop singing while she is so I can just listen to her, to a middle-aged woman who has been a part of the Singing Christmas Tree for four years now and filled us in on very useful advice for performance day: wear the most comfortable shoes and bottoms (some people wear shorts because it's so hot up there, teehee), bring mints to help keep your mouth moist (no water until intermission!), and drink tons of water before and after. Besides the actual singing making me feel warm and happy, the sense of community adds so much more to the experience. I'm proud to be part of the Edmonton Singing Christmas Tree because of people I've met and what The Edmonton Singing Christmas Tree Foundation supports in Edmonton.

This year, the first show is on Thursday, December 18 and runs through 'til Sunday, December 21 - so if you don't have a ticket yet and are free any of those days, go buy one here! For more information on the Edmonton Singing Christmas Tree, click here. Whether or not you end up going, I hope that the Christmas season brings you nothing less than joy, warmth, and community (:


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