23rd annual Magi Choral Festival is this weekend

 

Holiday music will fill Wicomico High School’s auditorium at the 23rd annual Magi Choral Festival on Nov. 19 and 20.

Shows will be Saturday, Nov. 19, at 7 p.m. and Sunday, Nov. 20, at 2 p.m.

Both will feature the National Christian Choir and Magi Children’s Choir, singing holiday music selections from light-hearted to sacred. Both choirs will perform individually, and also join for several selections.

The concert sets the tone for the holiday season, said Bonnie Luna, organizer. More than 100 children from the Shore are involved. Any child who loves to sing, from any school and those who are home-schooled, can participate.

Luna praised Alice Wigfield, the director of the children’s choir, who is assisted by area teachers.

In 2002, the National Christian Choir was invited and has been coming to Salisbury every year since, Luna said.

“This organization has such an affection and love for the people and the town of Salisbury. It is an amazing gift they give to us. They come with such excitement and enthusiasm. We are told by the choir that this is the favorite thing that they do,” Luna said.

Some choir members are hosted in local homes Saturday night, and for breakfast Sunday. Others stay at a local hotel. Their meals are provided.

When choir members — about 170 of them — said they wanted to attend church together on the Sunday they are in town, Luna didn’t know of a church that could accommodate them. So, she suggested a worship service be planned in the Wi-Hi in the auditorium and be open to the community.

“It is a wonderful ecumenical service. It’s at 10:30 on Sunday morning and it is just a traditional worship service,” she said.

“Since the first year we held that worship service on Sunday morning, the National Christian Choir has taken a free-will offering. At the Sunday afternoon concert, the members gave the offering to the Magi Fund. They have been doing that every year,” she said.

“They have a real goal of how much they want to give back to the Magi Fund,” she said. More than $90,000 has been donated.

Proceeds from ticket sales have gone to the Joseph House Center and Christian Shelter. More than $1 million has been donated. The money is used to help the homeless and impoverished.

Joseph House offers crisis intervention for those who need financial help, clothing, medicine, transportation or utility bills or are facing eviction.

The Christian Shelter provides housing for the homeless and the Joseph House works to help prevent homelessness.

For her dedication to the annual concert, and benefit to the community, Luna was awarded the prestigious Salisbury Award two years ago.

“It is extremely humbling. I remember thinking, ‘What is going on here?’ And I actually turned and started to leave. My husband Luis got hold of me and said, ‘Where are you going?’ And I said, ‘I don’t know I’m just going.’

“Because the two people I admire most in this community are Sister Mary Elizabeth and David Greer. And the two Salisbury Award ceremonies I had attended were for those two individuals,” Luna recalled.

Tickets for the concert cost $20 each, plus a donation of a canned food item. Tickets are available at The Country House and First Shore Federal Savings and Loan, at branches in Salisbury, Ocean Pines, Snow Hill, Pocomoke City, Berlin and Ocean View.

“This is about donating $20 to help feed the hungry and shelter the homeless. In return, the ticket holder receives the blessing of a beautiful Christmas concert. The Magi Choral Festival is the premier Christmas event on the Lower Shore. Folks travel from as far away as Newark, Del., and Frederick, Md., to attend these concerts,” Luna said.

“The National Christian Choir and the Magi Children’s Choir will create an all-inspiring sight and sound extravaganza to usher in the holiday season,” she said.

Reach Susan Canfora at scanfora@newszap.com.

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