BONNERS FERRY — With Christmas approaching, Bonners Ferry has shown the holiday cheer with decorations and events around the area. The community came together in the season of giving, celebrating with holiday concerts, fundraisers, and other festivities.
The musical students in Boundary County came together at Bonners Ferry High Schools Becker Auditorium on Dec. 14, to perform Christmas themed music for all to enjoy, accompanied
by a silent auction of which the proceeds go to sending the students to Boise, for the Boise State Band Clinic in February of 2018. There were items, gift certificates, and baked goods donated from local people and businesses. Far North Outfitters, Alta Forest Products, Goat Mountain Pizza, 9B Autoworks, Larson’s Department Store, Leonard Schulte, State Farm, Skywalker Tree Farm, Moose Valley Farms, and the Callison family were among those that donated.
At the Bonners Ferry Trinity Lutheran Church, the Community Choir came together for their 40th Annual Christmas Concert on Dec. 15 and 17.
“What I’d like to say is simply a huge thank you to our community for the support through all these years,” said Vicki Blake. “I think it is amazing that we have so many great singers who come out for the choir and so many community members who enjoy this beautiful holiday tradition.”
Blake conducted the choir alongside Barb Nelson and has been leading all of the choirs for the past 22 years.
“I remember my first concert in 1996 so clearly. I had never conducted a choir until that fall, and as we all knew, no one could replace Barb,” Blake said. “Thanks be, she came back to us a few years later. It was the beginning of what has become a deep passion for me, leading to all the choirs and all the choral work of the last 22 years.”
“It has been an honor to conduct this choir,” said Blake. “To me it is a powerful example of true community people coming together from very diverse political and spiritual perspectives, from every walk of life, and from children to seniors, to work together to create a gift of beauty to share with others. It is the true spirit of Christmas come to life.”
Blake’s time as conductor is coming to a close as she passes the torch.
“I will be working with our new conductor Julie McLeish, to make the transition as easy for everyone as possible. I am so pleased that she wants to carry on what for me has been one of the most meaningful of Bonners Ferry traditions,” said Blake.
“These Community Choir Christmas Concerts have been near and dear to me all of these years and have become such a wonderful tradition here in Bonners Ferry,” said accompanist Barb Nelson. “I will always be grateful to the many singers through the years and the joyful responses from the audiences. Thanks to everyone and especially to Vicki, my dear friend.”
The choir of all ages snapped their fingers to the beat as their melodic voices carried Christmas cheer around the church and the audience laughed and applauded when the men threw their Santa hats after finishing a song with cheerful gusto.
The merry songs were accompanied by instruments which were the Euphonium played by Todd Kelner, the French Horn played by Shirley Cameron, the trombone played by Jim Thompson, and the trumpet played by Vicki Blake, with Mak Kastelic on the organ and piano.
Community members came together in the holiday spirit, and finished off the evening’s concert with snacks, fellowship, and laughter. With the falling snow and Christmas decorations all around, the annual concert brought holiday cheer to the community once more.
In her closing statement, Blake said, “Here’s to the next 20 Christmas Concerts and to all the beautiful people who have given their all in joy, singing in the Bonners Ferry Community Choir!”