Photos By Stephen Dafoe
Morinville – Residents in the hundreds filled St. Jean Baptiste Church Dec. 20 for the 34th Annual Community Christmas Celebration, an evening of song and fellowship that drew local church and school choirs as well as soloists and singing groups to ring out the sounds of the season.
Former Morinville teacher, school board trustee, and Citizen of the Year John Unsworth started the annual celebration in the late 1970s. In its inaugural year, staff and students of École Georges P. Vanier School invited parents and the general public to a traditional Christmas concert in the school’s gymnasium. The response was so positive Unger organized the first full Community Christmas Celebration the following year at St. Jean Baptiste Church, inviting other Morinville churches to participate in the event. Over the next eight years the event evolved into what organizers say was the community’s most anticipated annual event. Unsworth moved to British Columbia in 1988, at which time the annual celebration was taken over by a small group of dedicated volunteers who wanted to see the event continue. It has done so for more than three decades.
The evening’s celebration included 17 performances of Christmas song. Below are some audio and imagery from the evening.