'Voices for Christ' - Festival of Christmas music in Canada

By Gerry D’Mello

Canada, Dec 1:"This is the reason why we gather here this evening: to make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation; to share our God given talent to praise and thank the One who saves us," said Fr Carlos Macatangga, SVD, the dynamic pastor of Cristo Rei Parish in his speech while inaugurating the eighth "Voices for Christ" Christmas Choral event organized by the Knights of Columbus Council #12214 here in Mississauga.

"The Voices for Christ Choral Competition allows members of various choirs to share the gift of music they have received from our Creator; it allows them to make use of this God-given talent to make a difference in the lives of the people who find solace and inspiration from music," he said.

Contrary to the chillness of the Canadian weather, the warmth of the divine Spirit spread through angelic singing thus preparing Christians in and around Toronto for the joyous feast of Christmas.

The ‘Knights of Columbus’, a Catholic Association having over two million members all over the world, is a Catholic men’s fraternal benefit society that is very popular in North America. It was formed to render financial aid and assistance offered to the sick, disabled, needy members and their families. Social and intellectual fellowship is promoted among members and their families through educational, charitable, religious, social welfare, war relief and public relief works. It is a great vehicle for Catholics to practice their stewardship in parishes and communities.

In order to spread the light of Christmas joy, Council #12214 of the ‘Knights of Columbus’ affiliated to Cristo Rei Roman Catholic Church, one of the prominent Churches in Ontario, organized "Voices for Christ", an event participated by the various Church Choir groups of Toronto in ‘Cristo Rei’ Church Hall on Saturday November 30 for the eighth time. Acclaimed choir groups consisting of talented singers and musicians from different multicultural backgrounds like Canadian, Portuguese, Indian, British, Italian, Polish, Chinese and Filipino participated in this magnificent event.

Jason Rodrigues and Jude D’Souza, a couple of the vibrant and talented youth of Cristo Rei parish ably anchored the evening’s program which took off at 7:15 pm with the national anthem "O Canada". They welcomed the full-house gathering followed by Prayer in Song sung by Salvador Do Mundo choir conducted by Odelia Souza.
Comperes Jason and Jude then read out the list of participating choir groups. They were:

‘Children’s Choir' from St Joseph’s parish – Director: Ana Maria Nunes.
’10:30 Mass Choir’ from St Francis Xavier parish – Director: Olivia F Camacho
‘Joint English Choir from Cristo Rei parish’ – Directors: Lynn and Rod
‘Grupo Movidos Pelo Espirito Santo’ Choir from Cristo Rei - Director: Jaime Pereira
'Voices of Distinction Choir from Sts Peter and Paul Church’ - Director: Ed Lavor
‘Couples for Christ Choir’ from Cristo Rei - Director: RJ Rodrigues

It was quite evident that every choir was very eager and enthusiastic to do their best and as a result, they all gave a great, well-prepared performance.

Soon after the performance by various Choir groups, the members of Voices of Distinction Choir from Sts Peter and Paul Church led by renowned music director Ed Lavor enriched and engaged the audience with their spell-bound singing of Christmas carols.

The dynamic leader of Knights of Columbus Council #12214 and the incumbent ‘Grand Knight’ Valerian D’Souza proposed the vote of thanks wherein he thanked all the sponsors, Worthy Knights and all those who had worked behind the scenes. He extended a special thanks to the Worthy Chaplain Fr Carlos for his great support, Lester Fernandes for coordinating various Choir groups and Allan Fernandes for heading the ‘Voices for Christ’ committee that resulted in a tremendous success!

Hats off to the professional and qualified Sound Engineer Rudy D'souza who provided a very modern and perfect sound system for a professional event like 'Voices of Christ'.