Autumn Sunderland sings a solo for “We Need a Little Christmas” with fellow BX Elementary choir members during last year’s Rotary Carol Festival, which returns this weekend to the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)

Rotary Carol Fest rings in Christmas season for Okanagan

67-year-old tradition Dec. 7&8 features more than 40 acts

More than 40 local choirs and solo artists bring the sounds of the season to life which will also spread cheer to area seniors.

The historic, Vernon Rotary Carol Festival gets underway this weekend with three showings: Saturday, Dec. 7 at 2 and 7 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 8 at 2 p.m.

“Start your holiday season off with the magic and beauty of the 67th annual Rotary Carol Festival, taking place at the Vernon Performing Arts Centre,” said Festival Chair Klaus Grieser.

Thought of as the kick off to Christmas, the Carol Fest is a by-donation event supporting the Seniors Spring Breakout.

“In the spring time we take all the shut in seniors and we take them to a big dinner and gala,” said Vernon Rotary Treasurer Stewy Stuart. “It’s probably about 500 seniors.”

The Carol Festival features a cross-section of local children, church and community choirs, as well as musicians and vocal ensembles. This year’s headliner is singer/songwriter Sylvain Vallee, who is also a composer, producer, multi-instrumentalist, conductor and audio engineer.

But Vallee is just one of approximately 16 different acts for each show, ranging from school choirs and Vernon Community Music School talent to Rob Dinwoodie and Open Range and Jay Laflamme, “who is just amazing,” said Stewart.

“There’s probably about 2,000 volunteers if you count up all the singers, music teachers, choir directors, Rotarians,” said Stewart.

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The first festival performance Saturday at 2 p.m. is kicked off by the BX Elementary choir and also features Coldstream Elementary, Terry Mooney, Drifting River Band, Laflamme, Vallee, Vernon Community Music School, Creative Chorus, Marilyn Stafanik and Dinwoodie and Open Range.

The second Saturday performance, at 7 p.m., begins with the Carriage House Orchestra and includes Pleasant Valley Christian Academy Choir Betty Anne Northup, Drifting River Band, Stefanik, Galina Labun, Okanagan Cloggin, Vallee, Mooney, Kilt 45, Laflamme, Dinwoodie and Open Range and the Kalamalka Secondary choir.

The final show, Sunday at 2 p.m., begins with the Vernon Community Singers, followed by Counterpoint, Mooney, Saint James Singers, All Saints Anglican Church Choir, Vernon Kalamalka Chorus, Vallee, Chordial Invitation, Valley Harmony with Vallee, Seaton C-Tones and the Seaton Show choir.


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jennifer@vernonmorningstar.com

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BX Elementary choir members Sophie Laser (top left), Silven Ivey (below), Sophie Rivers, Elise Dobernigg (back right) and Taryn Mcgowan sing and ring bells during last year’s Rotary Carol Festival, which returns to this weekend to the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)

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