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Sarnia to host annual festival of inspirational sacred music

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Journal Staff

A festival of inspirational sacred music that originated in Sarnia 34 years ago is returning to where it all began on April 21.

The Festival of Praise will be hosted by Sarnia’s own Sursum Corda Choir and feature the music of five Ontario male Christian choirs, including those from St. Thomas, Woodstock, Chatham-Kent and Clinton.

Sursum Corda, Latin for “lift up your hearts,” was formed in1984 by Sarnia’s Hank Nienhuis, said Dave Bandy, the choir’s secretary.

That same year, during the 50th anniversary celebration of Sarnia’s First Christian Reformed Church, the Ambassador Choir of Hamilton was invited to perform here and a tradition took root.

The following year, Nienhuis and Hamilton’s choir director teamed up to invite other choirs from St. Catharines, Holland Marsh and St. Thomas to perform together at the first ever Festival of Praise.

“It is a remarkable thing to sustain any choir for over 30 years,” Bandy said.

The festival of sacred music has expanded to 10 choirs, which have since been divided into two groups to shorten travel distances and increase the number of venues.

Things will come full circle again on April 21 when the church at 1105 Exmouth St. hosts this year’s Festival of Praise, starting at 7 p.m.

Master of Ceremonies is Myles Vanni. Tickets, $15, are available at the Dutch Market and at the door.

For more, contact Bert Hoogendam at 519-312-7727.

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