Holiday spirit abounds at River Lights’ High Tea & Concert


By Ron Giofu

The holiday spirit was alive and well at Wesley United Church Sunday evening thanks to River Lights and some talented musicians.

As part of the sixth annual winter festival, a “Holiday High Tea & Concert” was presented with roughly 130 people attending the event. River Lights committee member Karen Gyorgy said approximately 130 people attended this year’s event, a slight increase over last year.

“I think it was fabulous,” said Gyorgy. “I think a lot of people enjoyed it. We increased over last year so that was a good thing. It was a success. We appreciate all the support the community gives us.”

Gyorgy said she was proud to have the Holiday High Tea & Concert as part of the River Lights Winter Festival.

“It brought a lot of people together,” she stated. “All the performers were outstanding.”

The concert featured the Windsor Symphony Junior Youth Orchestra, the Christ Church Bell Ringers and vocalist Lisa Deneau.

Jennie Lajoie and David May pour tea prior to the concert at Wesley United Church Sunday. The tea and concert was presented by volunteers with River Lights.

The Holiday High Tea & Concert, which was sponsored by Windsor Family Credit Union and Sobeys, was the final event of this year’s River Lights that required paid admission. The rest of the events are free, said Gyorgy.

River Lights runs through Jan. 1.

“Our mandate was to bring people to Amherstburg and put smiles on their faces,” said Gyorgy. “I think we’ve done that in our six years.”

Gyorgy added there are 130 illuminated, LED displays throughout the downtown core of Amherstburg that were designed by local resident Dave Varney. The warming house in Toddy Jones Park is also a major attraction, she said.

River Lights is not funded by the town and relies on sponsorships and donations, said Gyorgy. It also has a volunteer base that helps present events such as the Holiday High Tea & Concert.

“I am humbled to be part of this committee and Amherstburg is proud to have us,” she stated.

Peter Wiebe, assistant conductor with the Windsor Symphony Orchestra (WSO), said the roughly 20 young musicians ranged from 8-14 years in age.

“Karen invited us out for the second year running to play at the River Lights festival,” he said.

Once again, the group received a standing ovation. Wiebe noted that because of the warm reception the group received last year, “it was hard to say no” when asked to perform this year.

It was the second time this year the Windsor Symphony Junior Youth Orchestra performed in Amherstburg, he added. Wiebe pointed out the group performed at the Diamond Jubilee celebrations in Navy Yard Park in the spring.

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