By Margot Thomas
THE CAROLS BY CANDLELIGHT tradition in Panama gets bigger, the performances stronger the candle wavers more enthusiastic and help for local institutions grows.
The CanadaPLUS Foundation, on Saturday, December 2 once again celebrated its own Christmas miracle with, after heavy rain forecasts not a drop to dampen the audience participation.
This year some 3000 showed up to join with the performers, who donate their time and talent to singing seasonal songs and carols with over 700 investing in souvenir candles and reserved seats and hundreds more getting a free concert Representatives of over 30 embassies participated. Canada was a notable exception.
The event was opened with a strong presentation by Fortis in Fides appearing for the first time. They are seasoned performers who sing regularly at Basilica Don Bosco and other churches and they set an upscale tone for the evening.
They were followed by Coro El Colegio De Panama making their third appearance and enthusiastically directed by Mervelis Flores
The Kings College massed choir included some young “veterans” who along with director Vanessa Whay have appeared in every performance for seven years. Their action supported presentation added a stimulating touch to the event
Susan Samudio, recently back from a six-country European tour including reaching the final of a prestigious singing competition, demonstrated with her rendering of Holy Night and Silent night, why she is a rising star in Opera Panama and she earned a standing ovation.
Vientos de Esperanza, directed by Roberto Rampolla is a group of young singers who evangelize through music, and with their heart touching skills showed why their message continues to resonate.
Panagaita a Venezuelan expat instrumental and singing group directed by Carlos Canelones provided a dynamic closing act that had audience members not only waving candles, but dancing in the aisles, before the combined choirs and audience, accompanied by firework volcanoes joined in a hearty rendition of Feliz Navidad led by the two outstanding MC’s Orlando Sanchez and Carla Atlamiranda who, throughout the over two-hour show rallied the audience to keep their candles high.
Credit also to the supportive audience whose contribution in song and donations will help the CanadaPLUS Foundation purchase equipment to assist the Hospital Del Nino to monitor young children with hearing problems and continue its community involvement.
Carols by Candlelight in Panama has become a tradition and performers for next year’s expanded event are already being signed up and the Foundation is seeking volunteers to help expand its reach and determine which local institution will benefit. Previous recipients of support have been Fundacion Calicanto, Hogar Malambo, Hospital Santo Tomas and Vision of Hope.
If you are looking for a volunteer niche interested in contributing an hour or two a month in the planning months, call 6619-6890 or email firstname.lastname@example.org