Ringing in the Christmas Season
Lakehead Choral Group Set to Perform Under New Director
Story by Pat Forrest, Photos by Sidney Ulakovic
The Lakehead Choral Group has announced the appointment of Diana Hannaford-Wilcox as their new musical director and, under her leadership, they’re busy rehearsing for their upcoming Christmas concert, Ring Those Christmas Bells. Hannaford-Wilcox is a well-known accompanist, piano teacher, conductor, and composer. She’s also the musical director for St. Paul’s United Church, including its handbell choir. Bells are going to be a theme of this year’s event, with the handbell choir members even making an appearance as special guests. Some of the songs to be performed will include “Madrigal of the Bells” by Linda Steen Spevacek, “Ring Those Christmas Bells” by Marvin Fisher and Gus Levene, “Holiday Bells” by Earlene Rentz, and “Nutcracker Jingles” by James Pierpont. Hannaford-Wilcox believes that the concert will help bring the Christmas spirit to everyone who attends. “I think everyone will feel joy and the spirit of the season,” she says. “This is my first concert with the group, and I am so excited to challenge them musically while, at the same time, help to bring out the love of singing and of working together as a group.” The choir’s accompanist, Dr. Sean Kim, shares HannafordWilcox’s enthusiasm. “For me, sharing the joy of the Christmas season with not only the choir but also friends and family and choral music enthusiasts means a lot,” he says. Like Hannaford-Wilcox, Kim is also a very busy musician, serving as St. Paul’s Anglican Church’s music director, the artistic director for the Oras Chamber Choir, and accompanist for St. Agnes Roman Catholic Church and the Lakehead University Vocal Ensemble, while also teaching piano and harmony. He is the co-founder of Opera Northwest with Theresa Thibert. Founded in 1956 by a local musician and teacher—the late Jim Jewitt—today The Lakehead Choral Group has 33 members, including some who have been a part of it for 50 years. They are a mixedgroup (soprano-alto-tenor-bass) community choir, currently with 14 sopranos, 10 altos, four tenors, and five basses. They are always looking for members, so if you love to sing, you can join them on Wednesday nights starting January 10, 2024 at 7 pm in the music room at St. Patrick High School as they begin to work on their spring show. Ring Those Christmas Bells takes place at 7 pm on December 13 at St. Agnes Church on the corner of Mary and Brown Streets. Admission is $20 for adults and $10 for students. Keep up with the group’s activities by following them on Facebook.