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Choraliers trading Christmas cantata for anthems

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Don't expect to hear a Christmas cantata this year, as choir director Diane Maxey has slightly different plans for the holiday season.

“It's not a cantata, so we can't call it a cantata,” Maxey explained.

“It's 15 Christmas anthems and they're absolutely beautiful,” she added.

Nomenclature aside, the performances that Maxey and her group put on each Christmas season will still take place, even as they happen under a different name.

“It's not a cantata because a cantata has narration and this doesn't have any narration,” she said.

“It's just one song after the other. It's going to be really fun,” noted Maxey.

Whatever the performance is called, Maxey said it's time for those interested in taking part in the performances to let her know.

“I need them to tell me,” Maxey stressed.

“They can either contact me on my cell phone or home phone number. Leave a message and just say, 'Yes, I'm in' and they can pick up their books by the end of this week,” she added.

Where Maxey once drove around town to deliver the books herself, the size of the group she usually works with has made that a difficult endeavour.

“I want them to come and pick them up,” she explained.

“The group could be 60 people; it could be 71 this year. One year, I had 85. It just varies. People have to call me, I'm not going to run after people,” added Maxey.

Maxey said that anyone interested in taking part this year will receive a book of music along with a CD containing their parts.

“It's $20 and you go home and you practise it and then we get together,” she explained.

“We do practice Monday nights, but we only practise five actual weeks because you've got the books, I expect when they come back they know it, basically, and then we just put it together. It's amazing.”

Maxey noted that the $20 can be paid either when participants pick up the book and music from her home, or at the first practice.

Each year the start date for practices generally varies, though Maxey said she usually starts holding practices around Thanksgiving. As for the performances themselves, the locations are the same as last year, even though she's still working on finalizing the dates.

“It'll be the first part to middle part of December,” Maxey said.

“The dates haven't been set yet. We do Zion Lutheran Church across, and we do here, and we do Rainycrest. We may do Emo this year.”

Maxey said she was expecting the music to arrive sometime this week, and she said she's looking forward to having both the performers and the public hear the songs.

“I'm really excited,” she said.

“I think people will really like it. It's the best 'Little Drummer Boy' you'll ever hear. It's awesome. My choir has done it twice now.”

Anyone interested in performing with the choraliers this year can contact or leave a message for Maxey on her cell phone at 807-275-9308 or her home phone at 807-274-7309.

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