Watsonairs ready for 30th annual carol festival

The Watsonairs, under the direction of May Janzen, rehearse Monday at the Arts Centre. Their annual carol festival is set for Thursday evening at Sacred Heart Cathedral. (Peter Lozinski/Daily Herald)

A Prince Albert Christmastime tradition will spread holiday cheer for the 30th consecutive year this week.

The Watsonairs are holding their annual carol festival Thursday, bringing together musicians from the area in a fundraiser for the Salvation Army Christmas Cheer Fund.

The Watsonairs were putting the finishing touches on their performance Monday at their last rehearsal at the Arts Centre, fresh off of their sixth performance at a care home this season.

“We’re practiced up and hopefully we’ll be as ready as we’ll ever be,” director May Janzen said.

“We have an amazing lineup of participants coming on Thursday.”

While Janzen said she wants to keep some of those participants as a surprise, she said acts will be coming from Shellbrook and from around the city.

“We’ll have Carlton Comprehensive, who haven’t been with us for a number of years, and we have some of our favourites that have been faithful to us for years, the Veselka choir. This year, we have Holy Cross School as well. They’re going to be singing a song with us. We’re looking forward to that.”

Janzen said the Watsonairs area all about contributing to the next generation of singers. They furnish scholarships at the music festival each year.

“That’s where we’re going to get our eventual members,” Janzen said with a laugh.
Like in previous years, the concert won’t have an admission, but there will be a collection, with “every penny going to the Salvation Army, Janzen said.

The women’s choral group has been rehearsing since September “even without snow,” Janzen laughed.

They’re also bringing in musicians to play along with them.

One song has a flute and violin accompaniment.

“It just gives depth to that particular presentation. We appreciate it because it definitely adds variety and complexity,” Janzen said. “The harmonies are fantastic.”

For the second consecutive year, the concert will take place at Sacred Heart Cathedral.

“The acoustics are wonderful in that building,” Janzen said. “The sound just soars in those high ceilings.

“People are more than welcome to come enjoy an evening of music, free of charge. We look forward to having a house full. Generous people will make this community a better place to live. We’re hoping people open their hearts to helping those in need in the community.”

Doors open Thursday night at 6:30 and the concert is set to begin at 7.