CARLSBAD — This holiday season local residents can promote international peace, cultural awareness and economic opportunity by participating in Christmas Around the World, A Cappella Concert and Holiday Fair from 1 to 5 p.m. Dec. 16 at the Schulman Auditorium, Dove Library.
The event benefits Carlsbad Sister City Ambassadors which connects Carlsbad with the global community by hosting delegations from sister cities Karlovy Vary (meaning Carlsbad), Czech Republic and Futtsu, Japan.
The Sister Cities concept was initiated in 1956 by President Dwight Eisenhower to promote cultural and commercial relations. In 1967 it became the Sister Cities International organization, a nonprofit citizen diplomacy network for partnerships with international communities. In 1988 the Carlsbad City Council voted to establish the Sister City program under city ordinance. The relationship continued until 2010 when the recession led to the City Council, still endorsing the concept of the organization, making the difficult decision to defund it.
The Sister City program became the nonprofit Carlsbad Sister City Ambassadors. Last year board members rallied and together held their first fundraiser. Joanne Brouk wrote an original play titled “Who Put the Bad in Carlsbad,” which was directed by Melinda Whitelaw. Board president Tom Hersant was cast in the leading role.
“The performance was sold out which led to a command performance which was almost sold out, too,” he explained. “The money we raised, combined with what we generate on Dec. 16, will allow us to successfully host biennial visits from two foreign delegations this spring as well as fund annual operational costs.”
The Holiday Fair features origami ornaments made by Carlsbad Junior Ambassadors as well as Fair Trade items from developing countries including Guatemala, Bolivia, Peru, India, Kenya and Rwanda. Nativity scenes made of gourds, orange peel wreathes, cinnamon and paper mache ornaments, and worry dolls are among the gifts available for purchase.
“A portion of each dollar spent goes directly to the artisans to enable them to make a living while promoting sustainability,” said Brouk. “Shoppers truly can ‘make their purchase make a difference.’”
There is no admission for the fair, and a $15 admission for the a capella concert which will showcase six groups, each performing six songs. Afterward, the audience will vote by ballot for the winning ensemble, which will subsequently be presented with a People’s Choice Award.
The groups include the Sugartime Quartet whose selections include “Silver Bells,” Singchronicity performing “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” and Fabulous Earrings singing “I’ll Be Home for Christmas.”
The Pacific Belles, a women’s four-part a cappella chorus, and local chapter of Sweet Adelines International, will perform “Ukrainian Bell Carol” among others.
Daughters of Norway, also known as Southern Ca Damekor, will entertain the audience with a variety of traditional Scandinavian and English choral music.
Royce’s Voices, which won that inaugural Bella A Cappella contest hosted by Carlsbad Friends of the Arts last year, will sing classics including “Here Comes Santa Claus” and “Silent Night.”
Brouk explained that she and other members of Carlsbad Sister City Ambassadors learned the value of the sister cities bond in a dramatic way in 2010 when they hosted a delegation from sister city, Futtsu, shortly after the tsunami that devastated Japan.
“When they were here, students from La Costa Heights Elementary School gathered funds to support their relief efforts,” she recalled. “The Japanese were so moved and grateful that, when returning here this spring, the Futtsu delegates are bringing gifts of books about Japan to give to the students of La Costa Heights.
“Also, the principal of La Costa Height’s sister school in Fuji will be making her first visit outside the country this month and will attend the a cappella concert as our honored guest.”
Also visiting Carlsbad next year will be the head of Futtsu International Relations who will serve as chaperone to a group of high school and college students, and the Lord Mayor and two deputies from Karlovy Vary.
The Dove Library is located at 1775 Dove Lane near El Camino Real and Aviara Parkway. For more information, visit carlsbadambassadors.us or call Brouk at (760) 434-8080.