History of the Christmas Cantata Project

The Christmas Cantata Project has become an annual tradition for Conception Bay South and surrounding areas. Since 2013, the CSCA’s Holiday Concert has featured their own choirs plus the performance of a half hour massed choir work celebrating the Christmas season. All interested singers from the community are invited to join in the massed choir. Since 2014 the program has involved an orchestra accompanying the choir, which has become one of the most favoured parts of the program for our audience and all involved.

In 2013, the Coastal Sounds Community Choir invited members of the Topsail United Choir Adult Choirs and the Anchormen Chorus to participate in the first Christmas Cantata Project. The choirs were joined by Afterglow, a six member a cappella ensemble, and performed “When Love Was Born” John Rasley and Frank Cross, accompanied by piano.

In 2014, the program was opened up to all interested members in the CBS and surrounding area who wished to participate. This was also our first Cantata with orchestra. The concert was held at Topsail United Church and the work performed was “A New Birth, A New Beginning” by John Purifoy. Soloists were Deirdre Costello and Fraser McCurdy.

In 2015, the concert took place at All Saints Anglican Church in CBS and saw both the choir and the orchestra grow. The work performed was “Love Came Down At Christmas” by Joel Raney. Special guests were the Avalon Boys Choir, led by Stephen Candow.

In 2016, the concert took place once again at All Saints Anglican Church with a record total of over 100 singers and musicians taking part. The work performed was “Let The Whole World Sing” by Joel Raney. Special guests were the St. Peter’s Anglican Junior Choir, Upper Gullies, led by Vicki Greenslade.

Our 2017 concert took place once again at All Saints Anglican Church, except it wasn’t 2017! Despite the weather forcing us to postpone, our ‘Christmas in January’ concert was a great success. The cantata performed was “A Thrill of Hope” by Joel Raney.

We decided to take our concert to St. John’s for the first time in 2018. The choir performed for a full and enthusiastic audience once again at beautiful St. James United Church. The cantata was Joseph M. Martin’s “The Song Heard ‘Round the World” which focused around the theme of unity and love for all. We were delighted to share the evening with special guest participants from all over the world through the Association for New Canadians.

For the first time since the Cantata’s inception, we decided to repeat a favourite work in 2019 – “Love Came Down at Christmas”, by Joel Raney. Back at All Saints Anglican Church in Foxtrap, our special guests were members of the Queen Elizabeth High School Choir under the direction of Heather Lewis. The event was a huge success with the most collected for the Food Bank at one of our concerts to date!