The Gleaner

The Rockburn Carolers return to bring Christmas song to the Valley

The Sunday service is over; parishioners slowly file out of the Rockburn Presbyterian church, chatting together as they go. Pianist Nancy Campbell closes the lid of the instrument. As the murmur of the departing congregation slowly fades, a small group of 12 people passes around Christmas songbooks. It is the first week of Advent and the first practice for the Rockburn Carolers. After an absence of four years, the Carolers are reassembling and preparing to bring Christmas cheer to the Valley. It is a small group, but the enthusiasm is still there. Kevin Harvey is back to direct with wife, Darlene Steele, by his side. He takes the Carolers through the old familiar songs.

The Rockburn Carolers were first assembled in 2009 by Harley Bye, who was then the minister at Rockburn Presbyterian. 10 members of the church choir came together to visit hospitals and senior residences, and they performed in small venues – spreading Christmas cheer around the Chateauguay Valley. Most years the group would sing at 10 different locations. A good old-fashioned singalong usually took place at The Rockburn Pub, and by 2012 the group had expanded to 20 people with Kevin Harvey directing and Eric Pritchard organizing the music.


The Grinch makes an appearance as the Rockburn Carolers perform at Ormstowns Enchanted Christmas in 2017 PHOTO Yvonne Lewis Langlois


Practices took place at the Dewittville home of Darlene Steele and Kevin Harvey. The Carolers sang in both English and French, and soon had their own songbooks made. Over the years the group lost some friends along the way, and when Covid 19 took the world by storm the festive group was silenced; but a holiday season without shared carols is just not the same.

Although the group has changed over time, the carols they sing are timeless. And this year, as the Christmas season begins, the group is returning to the music they love. They will sing at the Communic-Action seniors’ luncheon at the Huntingdon Legion at noon on December 19. They will also perform on December 17 at The Rockburn Pub between 4 and 7 p.m. and they invite everyone to an old-fashioned singalong once more. They will provide a songbook if you provide your voice.

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