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Annual Christmas Concerts Celebrate Timeless Traditions

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Of all the reasons to love Carillon’s annual Victorian Christmas concert celebrations, Laurie Sawyer comes back time and again to one reason above all others.

“It’s a little moment in time that makes people remember what they love most about Christmas,” said Sawyer, executive director of Carillon Assisted Living of Hillsborough.

Sawyer recalls the excitement of the December 10 event, and the hush that fell over the crowd of guests and residents gathered in the community’s dining room as the Victorian Singers arrived and began singing.

“It’s a magical moment from beginning to end,” she said of the event, which this year drew more than 65 guests. “With all the lights glowing, and the community so beautifully decorated, everyone feels the warmth that we have to offer.”

A similar scene played out at all 20 Carillon Assisted Living communities in early December, as the success of the third annual events helped raise thousands for children and families in need across the state.  Guest donations to local charities, including the Boys and Girls Club, Salvation Army and Toys for Tots, will put gifts under the tree and food on the table for many North Carolina families this year.

Each year, the events feature award-winning singing groups, many of them nationally known recording artists, who come dressed in period costumes and perform Dickens era classics through nostalgic holiday songs of the early 20th Century.

The groups include the Raleigh-based Victorian Carolers, the Charlotte-based Holiday Singers, Fayetteville’s Coventry Carolers, and two Winston-Salem area groups, Carolers of Christmas Past and Seasons Best.

For Nate Pendley, lead vocalist for the Carolers of Christmas Past, performing for Carillon residents and their guests has become a favorite Christmas tradition of his own.

“We perform for all kinds of people and in all kinds of venues, and in some pretty fancy places,” said Pendley. “But I’ll tell you something: there is something really special about going into a senior’s home and playing for them. It’s an honor to bring them back to their happiest Christmas memories.”

Posted in Sage Stories on December 17, 2015

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