Record Attendance at Spirit of Christmas

A steady stream of cars could be seen snaking their way through the gates of Trinity Western University over the weekend. With more than 10,000 people making their way to this year's Great West Life Spirit of Christmas Celebration, the University is quickly becoming the number one Christmas destination for families in the Fraser Valley.

Thousands of visitors were treated to a number of talented performers as entertainment took place at various locales on the campus over the course of the three days. After the official kick-off ceremony Thursday evening, hosted by CHNU Television's Suzanne Smith and Randall Mark, African drumming group Masabo kept the energy up by entertaining audiences with their highly vigorous performance. Working the crowd, the African drumming and dance troupe, decked out in full costumes, concluded their performance by encouraging concert goers to get up and follow them in a few energetic moves.

On Friday evening, 10 year-old Payton Rector blew audiences away with the voice of a person twice her age and Michigan-born folk, soul,SOC-BobbyBugaloo acoustic and hip hop guitarist Josh Garrels had a standing room only crowd as he filled the venue with his polished and unique sound.

A record attendance was also had at the Living Nativity as patrons waited in line to take in the unique outdoor theatrical nativity presentation. Telling the story of Christ's birth, the production incorporated some unique Canadiana characters. The original "Three Wise Men from the East," in this adaptation, were fishmongers from Canada's East Coast, while the "Shepherds abiding in the fields" were played by lumberjacks. Mary and Joseph also left for Bethlehem on a scooter dressed as a donkey!

Spirit of Christmas Producer Michael Wipf couldn't have been more pleased with the record turnout. Says Wipf, "This was a success not only for TWU, but is also an event that continues to prove the importance of connectivity within the Fraser Valley community. It's great to see the partnerships had between the business and non-profit sectors and how coming together can enrich the lives of so many. Families had a chance to spend time together, took part in the Living Nativity and make made some important Christmas memories. That's what the true Spirit of Christmas is all about."

The weekend weather was picture perfect. With two starry nights and one snowfall, the campus glowed with a multitude of twinkling lights. On Saturday afternoon, saxophonist and former TWU alum, Jim Bugg appropriately ended his set with "I'm dreaming of a White Christmas" as large fluffy snowflakes could be seen falling from outside the glass atrium, creating a winter wonderland.

The purpose of the Great West Life Spirit of Christmas Celebration is two-fold. Celebrate the true Spirit of Christmas with the community and raise much needed donations for the Salvation Army.

Artistic Producer Rachel Pick says, "Seeing so many families coming out to celebrate the launch of the Christmas season together as this event grows, is so encouraging to the organizational effort that has taken place over these last few months. There were many volunteers that gave of their time to see this event be the success that it was and raise funds for the Salvation Army. TWU students, staff and faculty helped with everything from directing traffic to putting up lights. To see the community come together is a huge payoff for the work that went into this event."

Planning for the 2008 Spirit of Christmas will begin taking place in early spring. More information on the talent, activities and sponsors involved in the 2007 Great West Life Spirit of Christmas Celebration can be found by visiting the website at

Trinity Western University, located in Langley, B.C., is a not-for-profit Christian liberal arts and sciences university enrolling approximately 4000 students. TWU offers undergraduate degrees in 39 major areas of study ranging from biotechnology, education, nursing, theatre and music to business, communications and biblical studies. TWU's 15 graduate degrees include such areas as counseling psychology, business, theology, administrative leadership and interdisciplinary studies in English, philosophy and history.

Last Updated: 2007-12-03
Author: Erin Mussolum