Photo courtesy of Great Rivers Choral Society.ALTON/GODFREY - The Great Rivers Choral Society (GRCS) invites Riverbend residents to enjoy their upcoming concert “Hope is Born: A Celtic Christmas.”

At 7 p.m. on Dec. 8 and 3 p.m. on Dec. 9, 2023, the choir will perform at the Bridge Church at 204 E. 12th Street in Alton. They will also perform at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 10, 2023, at Godfrey First United Methodist Church at 1100 Airport Road in Godfrey. President Pat Stewart said that GRCS is excited to share their music with the community.

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“I think the way the world is going these days, everybody could use a little bit of hope,” Stewart said. “It’s just some beautiful Christmas music, some with a Celtic flair, others not. But we’re very excited. This will be our 23rd season. Having survived COVID as a community choir, we’re very blessed to have the singers that we have and anxious to give back to the community some joy this Christmas.”

The concert is free to attendees, though donations are welcome. Stewart joked that they are a “seasoned” group — not old — with a growing repertoire under Music Director Raynard Brown, including the “beautiful” Christmas music they have prepared.

GRCS has stayed strong throughout the COVID-19 pandemic largely because of the passion that fuels the singers. Stewart remembers that they used to sing outside, socially distanced, just so they could continue practicing and exercising their voices. They have since welcomed many new members, and GRCS remains a creative outlet for Stewart and her fellow singers.

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“As long as, God-willing, we’re able, we’re going to be out there,” she said. “There are several professionals in the industry that are retired, and many of us have been in theater and performing arts before. So to be able to still have that avenue for the passion that we have for music is fantastic. Feeling very, very blessed in that aspect.”

While December is a busy month, Stewart hopes the concert will kick off the holiday season for attendees. She promises “A Celtic Silent Night” and “Christmas in Killarney” among other Celtic and Christmas favorites.

“Everybody’s lives are so busy these days, so we certainly understand that there are other things going on in the community, too, which is why we are doing the three performances so you have the opportunity to catch one of them hopefully,” Stewart added. “We’re just trying to get out there and let people know that we are a small community choir and we’re here to entertain.”

For more information about “Hope is Born: A Celtic Christmas” and the Great Rivers Choral Society, visit their official website at GRCSsing.org.

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