Watsonairs excited for first Christmas Carol Festival since 2019

Photo from the Watsonairs Facebook page. The Watsonairs Ladies Choral Group performs during their annual Christmas Carol Festival in December 2018. The annual event returns to the calendar on Thursday, Dec. 1 for the first time since 2019.

After two years away from the stage, the Watsonairs annual Christmas Carol Festival will return on Dec. 1.

The Watsonairs Ladies Choral Group were forced to cancel in-person performances in 2020 and 2021. Longtime member Teena Polle said they’re excited to back after such a long layoff.

“We are so excited,” Polle said. “We are so, so happy to be back after the two years of not being able to do what we love to do, and that is fundraise, so we’re quite excited.”

The choir and their guest artists will perform a series of Christmas favourites at Sacred Heart Cathedral on Dec. 1. All proceeds will go towards the Salvation Army Christmas Cheer Fund, an organization The Watsonairs have supported since their first carol festival.

“We stand with this outreach,” choir director May Janzen said. “We are proud of the record number of years the Watsonairs have supported the Salvation Army at Christmas.

“We have so many needy families. Every penny counts.”

The Watsonairs began hosting their annual carol festival 31 years ago. Prior to that, The Rotary Club of Prince Albert hosted the festival, but when they stopped, the Watsonairs stepped in.

“We just could not imagine a city not having a carol festival,” Polle said.

Like Janzen, Polle said they’re proud to support the Salvation Army, especially since they help people from a large number of backgrounds.

“They have such a far outreach,” Polle said. “They touch everybody in the City. They touch families. They touch the homeless. They touch the children, and they just try to add that little spark of Christmas. If we can be part of that, we’re happy.”

Although the Watsonairs were forced to cancel the festival the last two years, that didn’t put a stop to their fundraising. The choral group raised more than $3,000 through an online giving campaign.

“High tech worked for us too,” Janzen said.

The 31st annual Watsonairs Ladies Choral Group Christmas Carol Festival begins at 7 p.m. inside Sacred Heart Cathedral on Dec. 1. Admission is by free-will offering.

@kerr_jas • @kerr_jas