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Students bring electric Christmas carols to the Lester Centre

The 2017 Jingle Bell Rock concert inspires the spirit of Christmas — and giving
Students prepare for Saturday’s Christmas concert at Ian Lihou’s Ring System Music Studio. Front row, left to right: Hannah Bo, Isabelle Gray, Emily Mir, Isobel LeBlanc and Alley McCulloch. Back row, left to right: Ariana Truscott, Emily Duck, Morgon Verissimo, Ian Lihou, Kate Morse, Karlie Fudger, Trinity Stegavig, Zosia Stevenson and Hannah Proksch. (Keili Bartlett / The Northern View)

The sounds of Christmas didn’t wait until December to fill Ian Lihou’s music studio.

Fifty performers have been rehearsing every Sunday inside the Ring System Music Studio since early October for the annual Jingle Bell Rock concert at Prince Rupert’s Lester Centre of the Arts.

“Everyone enjoys it,” Lihou said a week before the show. “It’s more fun than it’s work.”

They’re hoping that work will pay off. For the last five years, the annual concert has donated all money raised to the Salvation Army Christmas appeal. On average, the proceeds total $3,000 to $3,200.

“It’s part of the spirit of Christmas, isn’t it? You know, helping out our own community. And we need it. You just have to go downtown to see how much is needed,” Lihou said. “It makes these guys realize how good they have it and how nice it is to give back. They learn all kinds of good lessons.”

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As for the music, the Jingle Bell Rock isn’t just the classic holiday tunes. The students, who are 10 to 18 years old, help choose the songs.

“There’s a very eclectic mix of music. There’s everything from the Beatles to Alessia Cara, from Sara Bareilles to Park, from Rihanna to Halsey. And there’s some Christmas carols too, because it is a Christmas concert after all. But they’re rockin’ Christmas carols,” Lihou said.

While it hasn’t been easy balancing rehearsal with all of the other extracurricular activities his students participate in, Lihou said the group is doing well.

“It’s awesome, the older ones help the younger ones. There’s a great spirit of camaraderie among everybody. It’s going to be a great show,” he said.

The Lester Centre will open its doors at 6:30 on Saturday, Dec. 16. Admission is by donation.

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The performers sign a Jingle Rock poster every year before the concert. (Keili Bartlett / The Northern View)