Anyone who saw “A Christmas Carol” on the bill at Carolfest Dec. 7 and expected the Twain Band and Choir to deliver classic Dickens got a good jolt when the first guitar riff hit the air.
Forty-seven shades-wearing singers and a seven-piece rock band surprised the crowd with a fresh take on the old Scrooge story—a bratty young boy is whisked off to a third-world country by the Ghost of Christmas Present and comes home talking a new line on toys.
“It’s the giving, not the getting,” sings the chorus all around young Freddie as he gets the bright idea to away his old shoes to a soccer-playing kid that needs a pair.
The song closes on a happy note from his parents, who rhyme off, “He’s talking ‘bout donations, not about a toy. What the dickens has come over our boy?”
Music teacher David Conway, who wrote the song and composed the music, said the Twain Band and Choir is spoiled for talent.
“We’ve got some really, really good players here,” he said. “The level of stuff they’re playing is great—lead guitar solos and everything else.”
For a second year running, the Twain band is offering their Carolfest for sale.
Singles are $3 each and all the profits will be split between the Houston Food Bank and TASK, a locally run charity that supports people in Nicaragua.
Last year, CD sales raised $50 for each group, a figure that Conway said he feels they can beat easily.
Already, the Twain students have landed some airplay for their Christmas cause—CBC Radio One played the single on their Daybreak North show last week.
“I think at Twain they just kinda take it for granted,” said Conway about the CBC show.
“I think the younger kids are excited the first time it goes on the radio. For the older kids, it’s not the first time around.”
In fact, the Twain Band and Choir has been hitting the airwaves since 1998, and their songs have often played province-wide.
“We’ve been recording stuff here at the school for years,” said Conway, adding that the students do a lot of their own original songwriting.
Carolfest brought together some 365 elementary and high school singers from across the Bulkley Valley for two performances at Smithers Secondary on Dec. 7. Donations collected at the show will go to the food hamper program run by Smithers and Houston Community Services.