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Rotary's Christmas Carol Festival attracts many people

St. Paul's United Church was filled with spectators and performers Sunday night, as the Rotary Club of Estevan brought back their annual Christmas Carol Festival.

ESTEVAN — The Rotary Club of Estevan hosted their 68th annual Christmas Carol Festival on Sunday at St. Paul's United Church.

The church was filled with spectators and performers. The night opened with a prelude by the Northwest and Southeast Wind and Brass Ensemble, followed by the Star Spangled Banner and O Canada by the Northwest and Southeast Choruses.

Among other festival performers were Kirkman Rennalls and Anna Korol with piano solos, Danielle Evenson and Allison Holzer with an organ/piano duet, Spruce Ridge School Choir, Laurie Fornwald with a vocal solo, the Estevan Comprehensive School Choir, a flute solo by Sandra Bazin, and a performance by The Way featuring Cheri Haberstock, and Cindy and Kevin Guillemin. Guests were also invited to enjoy the community singing.

Kyle Whitehead was the director, Holzer and Evenson were the accompanists and Estevan Rotary president Roy Ludwig handled the duties of the master of ceremonies.

In his opening remarks, Ludwig outlined the role the Rotary Club of Estevan plays in the community and listed their latest initiatives and achievements.

"We host fundraisers to raise money for the city projects, for local projects. We have major fundraisers like Lobsterfest and a golf ball drop, where we raise between $25,000-45,000. All of those funds are spent back in the community. The biggest initiative we've had lately was the first helipad at St. Joseph's Hospital with a Rotary contribution of over $100,000," Ludwig shared.

Over the past few years, the Rotary Club of Estevan also helped the local humane society acquire needed equipment and they supported the girls' softball diamonds with their projects. Besides, they directed funds towards purchasing turnout gear for local firefighters, playground equipment at Woodlawn Reginal Park, bathroom facilities at Royal Heights Veterans’ Memorial Park, emergency room chairs for the hospital, and concession and dugout renovations at Mel Murray Cactus Park ball diamonds.

Rotary's international initiatives include the Shelter Box, which provides emergency shelter and supplies for those who have lost their homes to disasters or conflicts. They also help build schools in developing countries so that the kids could have access to education.

"Rotary has more than 1.2 million Rotarians all over the world with more than 35,000 Rotary clubs in more than 200 countries. Our largest initiative is the eradication of poliovirus," Ludwig said.

Rotary has been working to eradicate polio for more than 35 years. As a founding partner of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, they've reduced polio cases by 99.9 per cent since their first project to vaccinate children in the Philippines in 1979. Rotary members have contributed more than $2.1 billion and countless volunteer hours to protect nearly three billion children in 122 countries from the disease.

Rotary's advocacy efforts have played a role in decisions by governments to contribute more than $10 billion to the effort.

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