Carols of Christmas Writing Contest Winners Announced


By Craig Thornton

Students in grades 5 through 10 were invited to submit a letter detailing their favorite carol and why it should be included in the Dec. 11 "Carols of Christmas" concert with The American Boychoir and the Orchestra of Northern New York. Numerous students took advantage of this opportunity to express their knowledge and passion for their favorite carol.

CPS received more than 70 submissions from local students, including young people from Potsdam, Canton, Hannawa Falls, Brasher Falls, Lisbon, Winthrop, Helena, Ft. Jackson, Hermon and Rensselaer Falls.

Their favorite carols ranged from classics such as "The Little Drummer Boy" and "Angels We Have Heard on High" to more contemporary carols such as "White Christmas" and "I'll Have a Blue Christmas Without You," as well as more obscure carols such as "I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas."

The following winners were selected from the entries:

Grades 8 to 10:

  • Grand Prize Winner/First Place: Liz Dempsey, "Silent Night," 9th grade, Potsdam Central School
  • Second Place: Morgan Villnave, "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town," 10th grade, St. Lawrence Central School
  • Runners Up: Rhea LaFleur, "Better Days," 9th grade, Potsdam Central School; John Maroney, "The Christmas Song," 9th grade, Potsdam Central School, and Cheyenne Padgett, "The Christmas Song," 10th grade, St. Lawrence Central School

Grades 5 to 7:

  • First Place: Sarah Dominy, "The Twelve Days of Christmas," 5th grade, Potsdam Central School
  • Second Place: Joshua Huiatt, "Carol of the Bells," 7th grade, Canton Central School
  • Runners Up: Airiana VanAtter, "He is Born," 5th grade, Canton Central School; Hunter Wilson, "Winter Wonderland," 5th grade, Potsdam Central School, and Hannah Yacketta, "Silver Bells," 7th grade, Potsdam Central School

The winners were judged on clarity, style and response to the overall theme. The grand prize winner will receive two tickets to any 2011 CPS performance, as well as the honor of having their favorite carol performed at "Carols of Christmas" on Dec. 11. First and second place winners will receive two tickets to "Carols of Christmas," as well as their letters printed in the program. The runners up will be recognized in a lobby display during the concert.

"I really enjoyed the contest because of the message," said Liz Dempsey, grand prize winner. "It made me think about Christmas and all the different carols, and the meaning behind each of them. It was fun to write about my own favorite carol and the memories it brought to mind!"

Community Performance Series will host the special holiday event "Carols of Christmas" with The American Boychoir and the Orchestra of Northern New York, under the direction of Kenneth Andrews, on Saturday, Dec. 11. The performance will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Helen M. Hosmer Concert Hall on the SUNY Potsdam campus.

Tickets can be purchased by visiting the CPS Box Office, located in the lobby of the Sara M. Snell Music Theater on the SUNY Potsdam campus, or at Northern Music & Video in downtown Potsdam. Tickets start at $13 for youth, $20 for seniors and students and $30 for adults.

A special "family package" allows free admission for youth 12 and under accompanied by an adult, as well as reduced adult admission. The "family package" is made possible through the generous support of Chester and Joy Anthony Douglass. For more information and tickets, call the CPS Box Office at (315) 267-2277 or go online to

Saturday, December 10, 2016
, Watertown, NY

On Demand

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