Thomas Morrison// The Observer

Finding deeper meaning in Christmas carols

Christmas around the world showcases songs of the season and their origins

The sounds of Christmas are in the air.

On Nov. 27, the Salvation Army Scarborough Citadel hosted Christmas Around the World , a sing-along featuring the Gerard family of Oshawa. They sang for more than 100 people, most of whom were women.

The event featured classics such as Silent Night and Carol of the Bells.

Leading the way on piano was Charles Gerard, who has been teaching piano for almost 30 years. He feels events like the one held at the citadel are a “thrilling way to administer the message of Christ.”

The Christmas tree at the church
The Christmas tree at the church (TMchristmastree)

 

“We go from senior homes to women groups, and its so easy and apparent through Christmas music to deliver [the message],” he said. Charles has fond memories even in the Citadel, including a choir concert 15 years ago.

“We had a large group of people including the Scarborough Songsters and we made a recording CD called Holy As He,” Gerard said.

A religious display inside the event
A religious display inside the event (TMdisplay)

His wife Dara-Lynn and daughters Alexandria, 14 and Julianna, 11 joined him at the event, wowing the audience with their musical talents.

Pat Chambers has been coming to this event for 10 years. She feels its a great opportunity for people to come together.

“This family comes every year and puts on a great show,” she said. “It can be hard for seniors sometimes to meet people. It’s especially good for seniors in the apartments above the church to get out at this time of year.”

The event was dominated by carol singing, as well as learning the origins and spiritual context behind songs from Canada and Europe, to Africa and Israel. Many know the lyrics to these songs but its origins are sometimes unknown.

Alexandria and Julianna are both home schooled by their father. Alexandria plays the piano, but would like to add guitar to her list of musical talents.

“I like that many songs can be put to guitar, especially pop songs,” she said. “I’d like to be able to play and sing at the same time, it would be fun.”

Julianna meanwhile enjoys the familiar surroundings of the church.

“Ive known the people here since I was five or six, its a lot of fun,” she said.

Both of the daughters play instruments, a testament to their musical upbringing.

Charles spoke about a family ritual in the home involving music.

“Every Sunday we’ll all gather as a family around the piano and sing Christmas music or any songs,” he said. “No TV, just music and family.”

Events are always happening at the Salvation Army Citadel. Check them out at 2021 Lawrence Ave. East