Christmas in Panama:

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Carols, trees, and a world premiere

The public enjoy the choirs’ performance.

The public enjoy the choirs’ performance.

Christmas celebrations begin this week, in the run up to Mother’s Day, December 8 as thousands flock to get their newly imported Christmas trees and plan for a seasonal sing along at Carols by Candlelight.

This year 103,261 trees arrived in Panama, 80% of them from Canada and the rest from Oregon, USA.

Add one special outsize tree to that total. It is a giant pine specially imported by the Canadian embassy to stand next to the stage at Mirador del Pacifico, on the Cinta Costera for the third annual Carols by Candlelight / Luces de Navidad participatory festival, organized by the CanadaPLUS Club on Saturday December 7 raising funds for Santo Tomas and the Hogar Malambo orphanage.

The event is free but, if you want to help the fund you can buy a souvenir LED candle for $5 or $10 while you watch seven choirs, a quartet and two soloists sing selections of Christmas carols. At the end of each presentation the public will be invited to join. The Masters of Ceremony this year are popular Opera Panama singers Alfonso Baysa and Graciela Saavedra.

Reserved seating at $20 and $15, including a LED candle is available. Call 6634-7351 or email carolspanama@gmail.com

The government revenue from tariffs on Christmas trees has also increased. According to the National Customs Authority (ANA) each imported tree nets the government 10% of the value plus 7 % ITBMS. By November this year 15,102,000 entered the country between natural and artificial trees, with total revenue of $109,431.

The event starts with a children`s candlelight parade led by a band and the concert begins at 7 pm.

The audience is part of the performance as they sing and wave their candles. The words, in English and Spanish are in a 32-page song book. Over 22,000 have already been distributed; if you haven’t got yours, check out any Felipe Motta store or Crepes & Waffles in Marbella.

The Thames Community Centre Choir from London Ontario, Canada, will be premiering a new carol, The Shepherds and the Mejoranero, commissioned from Canadian composer Beverly Lewis especially for the event.

THE PERFORMERS

The performers this year will be (in order of appearance):

Knightsbridge Schools International

Kings College

Hogar Malambo

Coro Redencion

G.Harmony

Coro Cantus de Victoria

Opera Panama

The Thames Centre Community Choir

Odette Versailles

David L (David Lopez)

The finale with all the performers singing will include fireworks.

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