PERU - The Keeseville-Peru Ecumenical Choir's annual holiday performance is a hallmark sign of the holiday season for many and it's been that way for the past 45 years. The choir's roots stem back to the early 1960s, said choir director Jeanette Woodruff, Choir starting with the Keeseville Men's Glee Club. The group was invited to sing with the Keeseville Methodist Church's choir in 1964, blending the all-male group's voices with those of the men and women of the choir.
"That formed the Keeseville-Peru Ecumenical Choir at that point in time," said Woodruff, who has been a member of the choir for the past 19 years.
The following Christmas season, the choir performed its first concert under its new moniker, beginning its path to becoming a long-standing holiday tradition in the community. Though the choir continues to perform its "standards" each year like O Come All Ye Faithful, O Holy Night, Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, and the Hallelujah Chorus, Woodruff said the group prides itself on introducing new selections into its repertoire.
"We have a variety of sacred and secular music that we sing," explained Woodruff. "It's not just the same music year after year."
The combination of a fresh arrangement from year to year and the fact many members of the choir have been with the group for several years has led to the longevity of the Keeseville-Peru Ecumenical Choir, said Woodruff.
"Many people say that their Christmas is not complete unless they attend our concert," said Woodruff. "And, we have many members in our choir say their Christmas is not complete unless they sing in our choir. People just enjoy it."
The Keeseville-Peru Ecumenical Choir will perform their holiday concert Saturday, Dec. 11, at St. Augustine's Church in Peru beginning at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 12, at St. John the Baptist Church in Keeseville, also at 7:30 p.m.
Admission to the concerts is free, though donations will be welcome to defray the choir's expenses.