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YRAF bringing Christmas spirit to the stage

Masha Scheele Photo

Masha Scheele
reporter@hintonvoice.ca


Journey Into Christmas is here to get the community in the holiday spirit and inspire us all with Hinton’s local talent.

Performers will step onto the stage for the festive night hosted Nov. 22 and 23 by Yellowhead Regional Arts Festival (YRAF) at the Performing Arts Theatre of Hinton.

“It’s a good introduction into Christmas for everybody. It’s a really nice variety of all different ages of performers,” said Jacqueline Delisle, executive director of YRAF.

It’s an all ages event to showcase local performers and serves as YRAF’s biggest fundraiser.

“We really try to keep it traditional. [The] first one was in 1986, so this event has been around for a long time,” said Delisle. 

A Christmas-themed photo booth will be part of the evening with photos by donation, as well as a concession featuring baked goods made by the YRAF board members and hot chocolate to top it off.

“We also have a really great silent auction too, which many local Hinton businesses come together to support our event and it’s a really nice way to get some Christmas shopping done and also support the community at the same time,” said Delisle.

The event raises money for the YRAF festival held each spring, where locals perform in front of adjudicators and receive feedback to help hone their skills. Auditions for Journey into Christmas were held during Culture Days in September, and 26 performers have prepared to show Hinton what they can do on stage this November.

Returning artist, Joan Melvin, is spending her birthday at the event doing a reading of T’was The Night Before Christmas.

“I told her she’d be spending her birthday with the community, which knowing Joan it’s just such a nice way for her to celebrate,” commented Delisle.

A few new faces will grace the stage including Diana Hendricks with three songs, and local band 4 Way Street is finishing off the evening with three songs. 

Four-year-old Erin Frais performs Angels We Have Heard on High on the piano and she’s not the only young talent showcased throughout the evening. Young brothers Isaiah and Jens Madsen join their dad, Jayden Madsen, for their first performance together on stage.

Masha Scheele Photo

Jayden Madsen is a local band director at Harry Collinge and also teaches guitar lessons. He’s been an active participant with YRAF with his band and bringing high school bands to the YRAF festival.

“I think just getting up there and performing in front of your community members is just such a cool thing,” commented Delisle.

Delisle has enjoyed watching artists grow throughout their involvement with YRAF, including the festival and the various concerts they host each year.

“Isaiah Parton is performing and always does original compositions. With YRAF I’ve been able to see him grow from a young age to where he is now, and it’s always such a pleasure to hear him perform,” said Delisle, who believes Journey into Christmas is an important showcase of local talent, not only for community members but also in support of the artists.

“It takes a lot of courage to get up and be an artist and a musician on stage. Having your community come and support you and show you that they really believe in you is an amazing thing,” said Delisle.

For more information contact yrafsociety@gmail.com.