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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Spokane

Christmas music fills downtown churches

Christmas lasted for one more day Saturday as people filled the pews of three downtown churches to sing Christmas hymns.

The second annual “Christmas Carol Walk” hosted by the Spokane Chapter of the American Guild of Organists attracted more than 100 people. A different organist played at each of the participating churches.

Guild member Nisha Coulter said one of the guild’s members, Carolyn Payne, heard about a similar event in Boise. “We decided we would borrow their good idea and do it here,” she said.

The event started at Central United Methodist Church on Third Avenue and then continued at Westminster Congregational United Church of Christ on Washington Street and Central Lutheran Church on South Bernard. Some people drove from location to location, but many chose to trek over sometimes uncertain sidewalks between stops.

Different hymns were selected for each church, Coulter said. “Some of them are more familiar than others,” she said.

It was perhaps appropriate that the first song sung was “In the Bleak Midwinter,” which includes the line “Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow.”

Other songs included “We Three Kings,” “Away in a Manger,” “O Come All Ye Faithful” and “Joy to the World.”

At Westminster, music director Verne Windham noted that his church changed its hymnal in 1995 to include different words for some songs. For example, the chorus of “O Come All Ye Faithful” was changed to “O come in adoration” instead of the classic “Oh come let us adore him” that many know.

“When you open it up, go ahead and sing your own words,” Windham said. “We can agree on the notes.”

The Rev. Liv Larson Andrews of Salem Lutheran Church brought her family to the event. Her five-year-old son, Arlo, said he liked singing hymns but was really hoping for some “Jingle Bells.”

“It’s lovely so far,” she said mid-way through the event.

Larry and Kristine Peterson were pleased by the event. “Already we know it’s not our last,” Larry Peterson said. “We’re going to make it a tradition.”

Kristine Peterson said it gave them something to do on the day after Christmas. “I just love the carols,” she said.

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