The sound of Christmas carols and holiday spirit filled the McPherson Opera House Thursday as community members attended the 34th annual Carol-Along.
The sound of Christmas carols and holiday spirit filled the McPherson Opera House Thursday as community members attended the 34th annual Carol-Along. Even though it was a come-and-go event, seating was overflowing with people of all ages who came to watch and participate in the music-filled evening. The McPherson Youth Pipes and Drums kicked off the event, playing songs while entering and leaving the floor. The McPherson Community Brass Choir, wearing red Santa hats, played several tunes on the stage and concluded with “Sleigh Ride,” complete with live bells rung by audience volunteer Zander Gorsuch, 8. Audience sing-alongs were then led by smiling volunteers standing at the front of the room and along the isles. Garland, lights, wreaths and wrapped presents dotted the room, made complete with the red velvet curtains of the Opera House. Large ornaments projected on the wall completed the ambiance of cheer. Also contributing to the event were the Central Christian College Concert Choir, Sonshine Choir, piano duet Bill Collier and Dick Nichols, the McPherson College Singers, and Sweet Assurance. Melinda Green of McPherson took her two children to the event for the very first time this year. “I thought it would be something neat for them to experience,” she said, adding it helped them get into the Christmas spirit. Her 11-year-old son Graedon plays the violin and she wanted him to be exposed to other live music performances. “Music can bring joy to people,” he said. “It makes me feel happy when others feel happy from my music.” Jeanie Kirby of McPherson has been attending the event for over 10 years and decided to bring her friend Edna Koehn from Hesston. The duo sat in the front row. “It’s fun to have the interaction with the community,” she said. “I think it’s a very neat thing they do. We have so much talent in McPherson.” In the past, Koehn was an avid caroler with her church choir, often singing soprano. Her favorite Christmas carol is “Silent Night.” “I think (this event) is beautiful,” she said. “I just love Christmas signing and carols.” Throughout the evening, Kathy Heidebrecht stood outside the entrance and passed out carol books. She has been volunteering for two years but has been attending fore more than two decades. “The carols are just awesome and everyone sings,” she said. “It makes me smile. I look forward do this every year. It’s a happy time.”