Use this search box to find articles that have run in our newspapers over the last several years.

Festival of Carols aims to be a unique concert experience

Date: 11/17/2008

By Courtney Llewellyn

Reminder Assistant Editor

WILBRAHAM The last thing many people are thinking about in September is Christmas, but that's when Dr. Todd Rovelli, the music director of St. Cecilia's Parish, started the rehearsals for this year's Festival of Carols.

This will be the 10th celebration of the Festival of Carols, and Rovelli wants to ensure its a special occasion. This year's concert will be titled "Sing We Now Christmas," and will feature a collaboration between the Adult and Youth Choirs of St. Cecilia's with those from St. Adalbert Church in Enfield, Conn. Both choirs will be accompanied by a 23-piece orchestra.

"This is something the entire community will enjoy," Rovelli told Reminder Publications. "There will be something for everyone."

The Festival of Carols began in 1997 because Rovelli said he saw interest in the congregation itself for an event like this. "We have the talent," he said, "and people have the spirit. It's a good experience musically for us."

He noted that the singers in his choirs are all volunteers with some of professional caliber.

Rovelli said the goal of the concert is to "uplift and entertain." This year's unique concert will feature familiar standards as well as songs sung in Latin to spirituals to those with a Calypso beat.

Not every song performed will be listed in the program either, Rovelli said. "We have to keep it fresh [with surprises]," he said.

The idea of the collaboration of the two churches was the idea of Tony Romeo, music director of St. Adalbert's, according to Rovelli. He said Romeo was a former student and is now a good friend of his.

Some of the musicians making up the orchestra will be coming from the Hartford and the Springfield symphony orchestras.

The cost of bringing the show together is significant, and Rovelli said the church is gladly accepting donations to help pay the cost of putting on the performance. The Festival of Carols itself is free and open to the public.

Rovelli said the program should last about an hour and 15 minutes, with the show at St. Cecilia's taking place Dec. 14 at 7:30 p.m. and at St. Adalbert's on Dec. 15 at 7:30 p.m.

"There are going to be close to 100 musicians on the altar," Rovelli said. "It's an event not to be missed."