Annette Barron

St. Clement Parish fundraising concert raises over $10,000

 

By Jolene Perron

 

To preserve St. Clement Church’s crumbling mortar, the choir took upon themselves to raise money through a one-time concert.

Since 1880, the parish in McGregor has offered Holy Mass for its parishioners. As the congregation grew, the construction of the present church took place in 1903. According to the dioceses of London website, St. Clement’s exterior walls are constructed of stone blocks which they said are likely from the local quarry.

“The mortar itself is crumbling so we need to have it replaced and that’s costing us quite a bit of money so we’re doing everything we can to fundraise through different events,” explained choir leader Annette Barron.

Barron explained that she suggested a concert last spring after many inquiries from parishioners about the choir recording a CD. Due to copyright, a CD wasn’t doable, however a concert was the next best option. She took the songs they normally do, and added harmonies and “rejigged” the songs to create a repertoire for the choir to entertain the parishioners.

“We took it five steps further than they are normally used to, and they hated me for it at the beginning but they got whipped into shape and they sound awesome now,” said Barron.

A group of choir singers from St. Clements Parish performed a concert recently to raise money for repairs to the mortar, which is currently crumbling away.

Barron has been in the choir since 1990. She explained they sing every week at mass all year-round, as well as at special masses for holidays such as Christmas and Easter. Typically they only hold formal practices as needed, as they are all volunteers.

The response and support from the parish Barron said, has been overwhelming. From parishioners volunteering their time to help sell tickets, put up flyers, promote the concert and actually work the event taking ticket money and donations, Barron said they “responded like gang busters,” ready to help. A crew of them even came out the evening prior to set up a platform on the altar to accommodate the choir.

With corporate sponsors, the choir raised $10,000 and counting with people still coming in with donations. They are continuing to raise money through the Columbian Hall in McGregor, which also had a sold out dinner over that same weekend with an attendance of more than 300 people.

For those wishing to make further donations, they should contact St. Clement Church at stclements@dol.ca during office hours, Tuesday to Thursday 10 a.m.-3 p.m. or at 519-726-5127.

“I’m extremely happy that I can do something to actually help contribute to the continuity of our church,” said Barron. “A lot of churches, parishes kind of die out but this one, it’s a small parish but we seem to remain vibrant and strong and viable, that makes it hard to close it up. We always seem to pull through no matter what comes out way with the building.”