Keeping the tradition alive

My Nikkel’s Worth column

This year of 2020 has been strange and off-kilter in most every way imaginable, and in ways unimaginable, so it’s not surprising that a 67-year tradition in Weyburn has been impacted, namely the Quota Carol Festival.

It’s all virtual this year, and since it’s not an in-person event, it’s kind of a bonus that it’s spread over two weeks.

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The Quota Club’s festival organizer, Heather Sidloski, put together a video showing some past performances and put it online (which you can see on the Weyburn Review’s Facebook page), and this coming Sunday, Dec. 13, Access will show their version of the Carol Festival with past and present video performances on the community channel.

As anyone who enjoys singing, or hearing singing performances in person, the virtual way of presenting it just is not the same — but that’s what we have to put up with under the public health guidelines regarding COVID-19.

As one who has covered many Carol Festival performances for the Review, there have been so many great afternoons and evenings of Christmas music.

The venue of Grace United Church is also part of the charm and atmosphere of the Carol Festival, with the curved pews on the main floor, and the upper balcony going around on three sides. The possibilities for different angles for photos was great, even when the seats were all filled and it was literally standing-room only, both upstairs and on the main floor.

Some of the performances that come to my mind as memorable were the ones by the Weyburn Comp’s STARS Choir, and last year the Rise choir, the youngest grades from the schools, the various Voices of Grace groups, and the Focal Point group from Stoughton.

This latter group brought a different performance with their vocals and the large group of fiddlers playing songs like “Christmas in Killarney”.

Probably the most unique performance I can recall was the group who did sign language for their carols. It would’ve been good to see them more often on our stage.

As a Rotary member, I’ve been a part of the Rotary choir on a number of occasions, which is always an interesting experience. On some of these occasions, I’ve had to work around taking photos before and after our performance, but this event is always worth the effort.

Some of the most touching moments every year is the finale, singing “Silent Night” with the lights down and the Quota members coming up to the front carrying candles. The quiet singing, the beautiful soft light of the candles, is wonderful to hear and see, and to photograph, and will be the hardest part to put across virtually.

If you are at all able to take in the video posted by Heather, and the program that Access will broadcast, you should, and keep the tradition alive.