St. Elizabeth, Mississauga is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, and it began the festivities with a “Connecting and Inviting” concert on June 17. The parish was founded in 1992 with a Cantonese-speaking congregation. It is now the spiritual home for individuals from multiple cultural backgrounds, with three Sunday worship services (Mandarin, Cantonese and English).
The songs selected for the concert appealed to a general audience, while at the same time generating a warm and elegant atmosphere. The first group to perform was Millennium Chinese Music Workshop, led by Bill Ko. This performance offered a unique opportunity to see and hear traditional Chinese musical instruments in action. The group played popular Chinese songs from the 1970s and ’80s that matched the concert’s theme, and many audience members could really relate to them.
To begin the vocal portion of the concert, conductor Michael Wong and the Treasure in the Jar Choir performed three songs. The group brought the Gospel to the audience through the choir members’ voices and touching introductions. The Rev. Canon Dennis Dolloff and Lori-Anne Dolloff also sang three songs, including “You and Me” performed in Mandarin and English. It was the theme song of the opening ceremony at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. To fit the concert theme, the lyrics “meeting in Beijing” were changed to “meeting at St. E.” The audience was delighted by this small modification.
Members of St. Elizabeth’s music ministry sang secular and religious songs. Our rendition of “We are One in the Spirit” began with solos from our youngest choir members accompanied by the piano, with a little Chinese flare. The choir then sang St. Elizabeth’s very own anniversary song, to which audience members clapped and followed along. To close the night, we had a singalong of “Bridge Over Troubled Water” with the reading of a Bible verse during the interlude to bring out our theme: “I give you a new command. Love one another. You must love one another, just as I have loved you. If you love one another, everyone will know you are my disciples” (John 13:34-35). The concert ended on a high note as we finished this singalong.
St. Elizabeth thanks all performers and volunteers who made this concert possible. The event not only helped audience members feel connected, it showcased the love, unity and dedication of St. Elizabeth’s. After a little break, the church will start preparing the music for its 25th anniversary worship and banquet on Oct. 15. For more information, visit www.stechurch.com.
By Joanne Loo, the music director at St. Elizabeth, Mississauga