A Christmas Carol presented by St. John’s Presbyterian Church and CBC Radio November 28th at 7:30 PM – Cornwall Ontario

Cornwall ON – Come and celebrate the true spirit of the season as CBC Radio and St. John’s Presbyterian Church proudly present a dramatic reading of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.

This year’s presentation of the timeless classic will be held Sunday, Nov. 28, beginning at 7:30 p.m. in the church, 28 Second St. East, in Cornwall. Doors open at 7 p.m.

Tickets are $15 (tax receipt available). They may be purchased at the church office, Monday through Friday (8 a.m. – noon, 1 to 4 p.m.), beginning Oct. 25.

Since its inception in Cornwall nine years ago, the CBC reading has become the anticipated launch of the holiday season for many folks, one which truly showcases the real meaning of Christmas. Engaging and entertaining local guest readers, complimented by an inspiring Celebrity CBC reader and festive music, set the stage for this beloved tale of its once miserly, but remorseful curmudgeon, Scrooge.

Producer Kathleen Hay is delighted with this year’s line-up of well-known readers and performers who’ve come forth to share their talents in this grassroots presentation.

“The festive season presents its own challenges just because everyone is so busy,” she said. “This is only compounded when you have the degree of commitment and community involvement which each of our participants holds dear to their own hearts.

“As such, we are especially thrilled to share in the season with them.”

This year’s CBC Radio celebrity reader will be Martina Fitzgerald, weekend host of The World Report. Fitzgerald, a Kingston native, endeared herself to the local audience when she first read here two years ago.

“Martina was an absolute delight to have join us,” Hay said. “She was incredibly taken with the spirit of our reading and the warmth of our audience. Despite her own hectic schedule, she’s made special arrangements to return again for an encore performance.”

Local readers for this year’s Dickens’ foray include Major General (Ret) Charles “Duff” Sullivan, former NATO Air Component Commander/Deputy Joint Operations in Kabul, Afghanistan, and who is currently Chief of Operational Safety Analysis, NAV Canada, along with Dr. Nat Shah, Cornwall Citizen of the Year (1984), Child Haven International founding member and director, who is also director of the Sikh Education and Research Centre.
They will be joined by Linda Halliday, Ontario Power Generation Public Affairs Officer, Quilt of Belonging and St. Lawrence River Institute board member, and noted author Maggie Wheeler whose Farran Mackenzie Seaway mystery series has landed her on the best-sellers list for Eastern Ontario.

Guest artist at this year’s reading is the award-winning singer-songwriter Graham Greer in an acoustic performance filled with traditional holiday delights. Greer has had a stellar year performing at the Cisco Ottawa Bluesfest, as well as opening for Jarvis Church and Chantal Kreviazuk at Kinsmen Cornwall Lift-Off. His touring schedule has been a hectic one, too, with several gigs in Toronto at the Horseshoe and C’est What.

“Graham is highly in demand and we are just so pleased he’s joining us for Dickens,” stated Hay. “We are also pleased to welcome Knox – St. Paul’s United Church bell choir who will perform for the prelude, and Chorus Novus whose sublime vocal interpretations will complement the readings.”
One-hundred per cent of proceeds raised this year will benefit the SD&G Ontario Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, in particular, the organization’s Humane Education program. Research has demonstrated the links between animal abuse and child abuse, and it is hoped that through education, such as those offered through the OSPCA, child abuse statistics will be lowered.

As well, the local shelter also offers emergency boarding facilities for animals of victims of violence who may be reluctant to leave home if they can’t take their pets with them.

“Dickens advocated issues including education and helping the less fortunate,” said the producer. “Not only are those of us involved in the reading huge animal lovers, but we strongly believe in these programs which the organization offers the community.”

The holiday season often finds the food stores of the shelter depleted, she added. As such, bins will be on-hand at the reading to collect donations of dog and cat food for the organization.

More than $40,000 has been raised during the past nine years for worthy organizations which advocate causes which Dickens’ also promoted, such as education, literacy, health care and well-being of society. Past recipients include Maison Baldwin House, Tri-County Literacy Council, Hospice Cornwall, Agapè Centre, Boys and Girls Club of Cornwall/SDG, and the Cornwall Community Hospital Foundation.
“We are very proud of our community’s track record in supporting this Christmas event,” noted Hay. “It is one of the top CBC Radio readings across the country in raising funds and we are very happy to report that among CBC Radio personalities, Cornwall has been rated by them as one of the very best.

“Come and join us for this classic – and don’t forget to stay for hot cider and a slice of Christmas cake, too!

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