By Mark Squibb/December 9, 2021
A group of community volunteers and some top-notch performers are coming together to bring Christmas to North River.
“With the government’s reopening plan and trying to get people back to some sense of normalcy with the decreasing regulations around COVID-19 and the accessibility that the VaxPass creates, we wanted to have something that would bring people back together,” said recreation volunteer Ryan Gates. “We’ve been starving for different kinds of entertainment for a while now, whether it be music or sporting events or whatever, so we stuck our heads together here locally and that’s what we came up with. It’s something that would raise money for the churches, because everybody suffered during the pandemic, and particularly the churches, who didn’t have the same kind of income as they would of normally, so we thought if we put a show together that would benefit the churches, benefit the people, and bring a bit of Christmas spirit, I think that would be a win-win for everybody.”
To that end, Aaron Collis and Mark Manning of Rum Ragged will join Jim Payne and Fergus O’ Byrne for a night of Christmas carols, shanties, tall tales, and more on December 12 at All Hallows Elementary at 7:30 p.m.
Profits over and above the cost of the show are in support of All Hallows Parish and St. George’s Cemetery Committee, which cares for the cemetery and church hall. Local businesses helped sponsor the event, and the group had posters and tickets printed free of charge, so the only costs incurred will come down to paying the musicians, along with a small rental fee for use of the school gym.
Community volunteers will be on hand Sunday to set up chairs and check passes at the door.
“It’s a group effort, for sure,” said Gates. “We have a lot of interested people here in the community, and people that are willing to help, so we’re lucky that way.”
The gymnasium can hold 500, but Gates said they anticipate they’ll sell around 250 tickets.
“Not everyone is going to be comfortable jammed right up tight to one another, so even though we’re not required if people are wearing their masks and using their VaxPass, we wanted to space the seats to make it comfortable for everyone,” said Gates. “So, our goal initially would have been 250 tickets sold, which would have given us around $2,500 to share between the two churches.”
Recreation volunteers had sold 200 tickets as of Monday afternoon.
Had they not sold any tickets from Monday onward (which seemed unlikely) there would have been around $800 in donations for each church.
North River also hopes to host a Breakfast with Santa on December 18.