Albion Alumni Christmas concert goes virtual with Tidings of Comfort and Joy

Posted 21 December 2020 at 9:32 am

Photos courtesy of Sue Starkweather Miller: Riley Seielstad sings the uplifting tune “Underneath the Tree” during a Christmas concert that is available online.

Press Release, Albion Alumni Foundation

ALBION – Every year the Albion Alumni Foundation hosts an annual Christmas in the Neighborhood concert. Proceeds from the concert help to fund some of the Foundation’s more than $89,000 in Class Night scholarships for Albion High School seniors.

The popular holiday concert always attracts several hundred attendees and spotlights Albion Alumni and community members performing a selection of songs of the season.

After a difficult 2020 and concerns with in-person events, the concert was in jeopardy of being cancelled. The Foundation decided to move ahead with the concert by creating a virtual event called Christmas in the Neighborhood: Tidings of Comfort and Joy. It will be offered for two weeks of unlimited viewing with a one-time donation of $10.

What About Jane performs “Winter Wonderland”. Pictured (l-r): Jan-Mikael Erakare, Rhonda Smith, Tom Smith and Gary Smith.

Concert organizers Sue and Mike Thaine, Gary Simboli and Sue Starkweather Miller selected and scheduled performers and secured sponsors and advertisers.  Simboli accompanied many of the performers on the piano.

Joram Bierdeman, a professional videographer and Albion Class of 2011 alumnus, agreed to videotape the concert performers in the historic First Presbyterian Church. Jan-Mikael Erakare provided technical assistance as the sound engineer.

Performers scheduled a specific time to perform so all involved could maintain a safe social distance. The entire concert was filmed in one evening.

Class of 1968 alumnus Alec Sherman is an annual performer at the Christmas concert.  He also provided technical assistance with sound for all of the performances.

Concert tickets can be secured in one of two ways:

Go to and click on the yellow “Tidings of Comfort and Joy Concert” button. You can pay by credit card or Paypal. Call 589-7220 to secure your virtual ticket.

Once your donation is made you will receive viewing information and instructions on how to access the concert link from the comfort of your own home.  Access to the concert will be available until Dec. 31.  You can view it as often as you wish for the two week time period.

The organizers would like to thank the following for sponsoring this virtual concert:

  • Gold sponsors – Christopher Mitchell Funeral Homes; Brighton Securities; Nathan & Gail Lyman.
  • Silver Sponsors – Margy &Eric Brown; Steve & Rachel Hicks
  • Bronze Sponsors – Dr. Thomas & Sandra Madejski; Christopher-Williams Agency; Annette Mannella; Alec & Kathy Sherman; Brad Shelp; Doug & Sue (Starkweather) Miller; Mike & Sue Thaine; Gary & Laura Simboli; Pets in Peaceful Rest.
  • Advertisers – Bloom’s Flower Shop; D & K Auto; Cobblestone Museum; Albion Agencies Insurance; Light of Victory Church; Rush’s Vegetable Stand/Petals and Lace Florist; Orleans Agencies; Ernst’s Lake Breeze Marina; Brigden Memorials; Olde Dogge Inn; Scott M. Schmidt Coroner; Plaza Liquor Store.

Erin Moody sings “Christmas in Heaven” in memory of his son Brennan.

2020 performers include:

  • Gary Simboli singing several songs including “Oh Holy Night”
  • What About Jane (band members Tom Smith, Gary and Rhonda Smith and Jan-Mikael Erakare) perform “Winter Wonderland”
  • Community Christmas Brass Ensemble (Mike Thaine, Susan Boring, Joe Condoluci, Roger Bolton, Shannon Broda and Kyle Thaine) perform “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” and “Jesu Bambino”
  • Erin Moody sings “Christmas in Heaven”
  • Kailey Winans sings “Grown Up Christmas List”
  • Roy and Julie Smith perform on the trumpet and flute the song “Somewhere in My Memory”
  • Pastor’s Trio (Pastors Sue Boring, Aleka Schmidt and Sue Thaine) perform “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen”
  • Shannon Broda performs on the French horn “In the Bleak Midwinter”
  • Mike Thaine performs on the euphonium “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch”
  • Lindsay Almeter performs on the flute “Celebrate the Gift”
  • Shannon Vanderlaan plays piano and sings “Love is Christmas”
  • Alec Sherman sings “The Christmas Song”
  • Scott Schmidt performs on the First Presbyterian Church organ “Improvisations on Joy to the World”
  • Riley Seielstad sings “Underneath the Tree”
  • Sue Thaine sings “Auld Lang Syne”

The First Presbyterian Church was beautifully decorated for the concert.  Pictured: Roy and Julie Smith perform “Somewhere in my Memory.”