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Bloomingdale the place for the sounds of the season

Bloomingdale’s Koinonia Christian Fellowship is ready to spread some holiday cheer with their eighth annual Christmas in Concert series.

Singers and instrumentalists will come together for five shows of classic and modern Christmas songs.

The free event had its highest turnout last year with around 4,000 attending the shows over the course of the weekend.

“We also had the biggest orchestra we’ve ever had, great numbers, a really great set, a great review from the concert people who really enjoyed it. But we were just so happy to see the continued community support and involvement with the show and exposing them to something that has become a tradition for many families in the community,” said Larissa Gadsby, one of the executive directors of Christmas in Concert.

In fact, the turnout was so high they had to turn away some 200 guests because they were filled to capacity. To make up for that, this year they’re opening up their Friday show to the general public which traditionally was for the show’s sponsors.

“We’ve made it a fully seated show. We have approximately 250 sponsors in attendance that will receive a VIP sponsor reception prior to the show, but then we’ve opened up 500 seats that can be purchased online for $10 for those people who want to skip the line, ensure that they can for sure come and see the show,” Gadsby said.

A portion of ticket sales from the Friday show will go towards JAM International’s Red Bowl Campaign, which provides meals to more than 1 million children in Africa every day. The shows on Dec. 3 and Dec. 4 are free.

The Friday show is a business formal evening with high school students and older allowed for that show. Any age is welcome for the four free shows.

Also new this year, they’re welcoming some students from Eastwood Collegiate Institute’s Integrated Arts Program to perform with their orchestra.

The 13 songs in the concert cover a wide range of styles, including classics like O Holy Night and Jingle Bells.

“We’ve got favourites from Michael Buble to some more contemporary stuff that maybe isn’t as well known, but still can be a foot-tapping song. This year we’re also excited to feature our concert choir in a new way with some choir specific numbers. One is more of an upbeat, fun one and one is more of a traditional, beautiful choral arrangement. People might even find some Pentatonix in there as well. We really try to cater to every musical taste,” she said.

Putting together Christmas in Concert is a year-round process. In January they reflect on the previous year’s show, and come February and March they’re already into song selection. Rehearsals began in early October and last weekend they held the first on-stage rehearsal for this year’s show.

The show is all about inspiring the community, regardless of what life has thrown their way.

“Christmas isn’t always a celebration for everyone. We go through different seasons of life where the Christmas season may not always bring  joy, so we’re just happy to be able to provide this opportunity for people to come and feel the warmth and the joy and the hope that Christmas can bring,” she said.

The show has become a yearly outing for many families, even those who don’t belong to the church. She says it’s a nice excuse to get your family together and enjoy a free event to kick off the holidays.

“It’s just a really great way to start the Christmas season off in a very positive and uplifting way.”

The opening night of Christmas in Concert is Dec. 2 at 8 p.m. You can purchase a ticket with a  confirmed seat ahead of time for $10 at www.christmasinconcert.com. There are four free shows, two on Dec. 3 and two on Dec. 4. Show times are 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. Doors open one hour before show time at 850 Sawmill Rd. in Bloomingdale.

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