An Antigonish County landmark will serve as the venue for an upcoming Christmas gala concert.
The show, at St. Margaret of Scotland Church in Arisaig, will serve as a fundraiser for the parish.
“We are like most others,” organizing committee member Neil MacDougall said of the financial challenges their parish face.
As for the entertainment, he noted, organizers “decided early on” that there would be a Celtic Christmas theme for the musical celebration, which will include traditional and classic carols, along with tunes that reflect that history.
“There is such a rich Scottish tradition,” MacDougall said, noting how entrenched – even with younger people – the Gaelic language and customs, such as step dancing and fiddling, continue to be in the community.
The eclectic line-up includes the St. James Quintet, which he described as “very impressive.”
As for the Carillon Singers, he added, they are “exceptionally good.”
Celtic tenor Tom MacDonald will perform original pieces.
“He is quite accomplished,” Mary Smith, organizing committee chair, said.
Fiddler Troy MacGillivray of Lanark will also take the stage, while his sister, Sabra, will provide her dancing talents.
“He is an exceptional musician,” MacDougall said of Emery van de Wiel, another one of the artists.
The line-up, which continues to grow, also includes the Pictou Brass and Reed Band.
“It is an impressive group of performers,” Smith said.
As for the church, which has welcomed generations of worshippers for more than 139 years, organizers said it will be ‘finely decorated,’ adding to the festive feel for the celebration.
“It has such a rich history,” Smith said.
Sylvester Donahue, who also directed construction of St. Ninian’s Cathedral in Antigonish, led the Arisaig project, which is noted for its Gothic design and being ‘ornamented with magnificent classic architecture.’
That construction includes a breathtaking high open ceiling, which provides exceptional acoustics.
“Musicians love performing there,” MacDougall said.
Organizers noted, although there are no washrooms in the church, there will be a shuttle service to take concert-goers across the street to Arisaig Parish Community Center.
As for that spot, it will also be the location for Christmas treats, tea, coffee and cider, which will be served prior to the show – starting at 2:30 p.m.
Smith noted they decided to have the refreshments, at that time, so people can head home before nightfall.
There is no intermission during the show.
Tickets, which are $15, can be purchased at Antigonish 5¢ to $1, Hawthorne Convenience, LBR Convenience in Lower Barney’s River and Chediac Furniture in New Glasgow, or by calling Smith at 902-863-1836.