The Gateway Christmas Concert is one of the annual highlights at Gateway. Practicing for the program usually begins in October, right after the Thanksgiving holiday, and continues every Monday and Wednesday afternoon until the date of the program, which is generally the last Thursday in November. Tina and Pearl have been instrumental in making this concert happen for many years. Pearl generally directs the reading of poems and narrations and Tina generally directs the choir. All participants who want to be a part of the choir are welcome.
Tina, who has been with Gateway for 25 years, as of this year, started helping with choir practices about 22 years ago by accompanying on the guitar and then, later, and for many years now, directing the choir. Tina enjoys every minute of the preparation – choosing songs, practicing – all building up to the night of the Christmas concert. “To see their faces light up – that’s the best Christmas gift anyone could receive – at least in my eyes.” She continued to elaborate a bit on this statement by saying that when you see the excitement in their eyes and you know what’s in their hearts; the fact that they can bring the true message of Christmas to the community, “that is, for me, the best Christmas gift ever.”
Pearl’s has had a part in the preparation for the Christmas program for about 18 years now. Her role for many of those years has been to find poems/narrations for the concert; however, in the last number of years she has been in charge of choosing all the material – from the theme, to the songs, the poems, narrations – making sure it all fits together and flows. Pearl alluded to the fact that working at a recycling depot does have its advantages as far as the Christmas Concert is concerned. Some of the ideas for the concert have been inspired when on the job, sorting through recyclables, seeing old Christmas musicals, poems and songs. She mentioned how special it is to see how the excitement of the choir members builds as the date of the concert approaches. She also mentioned, with a smile on her face, that some years there are some participants that show up to be part of the choir, on the evening of the concert, who have not made it to any of the practices – and are just as enthusiastic about being part of the choir as the others who have been practicing all along. There is just something special about being on that stage, part of the Gateway Choir. In the end, the concert always conveys the excitement of Christmas, the message of Christmas, and marks the start of the Christmas season for Gateway and for all who attend. The Gateway Christmas Concert never disappoints.