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Top Music Will Highlight Christmas Festival

Chaddie Fruehwald, renowned Celtic harpist, will again have a concert at the Church of Ste. Genevieve during the Christmas Festival.



Those who attend the 38th Annual Ste. Genevieve Holiday Christmas Festival Dec. 3-4 will get to sample a wide variety of top-quality music, among many other things.

Virtually the full slate of past performers will be on hand, as well as some new performers.

The festival, which kicks off Saturday with the free Read Me A Story activity, put on by the Friends of the Ste. Genevieve Library (10 a.m.-4 p.m.) and the 11 a.m. Christmas Parade, features an impressive lineup of musical talent.

“I think it’s a spectacular lineup,” Annette Rolfe, chair of the festival committee, said. “We are so fortunate these people have loyalty to us to come back almost every year.”

Even during the pandemic year of 2020, the regulars returned.

“That is magnificent.  Most of the performers I’ve had since I started hiring the performers in 2008,” Rolfe said.

She estimates that 90% of the entertainers have continued coming back to the festival since the start.

“We’re very fortunate to have that magnificent talent that is in our town, regionally and locally.”

The musical lineup starts at noon on Saturday.


Local musician Chad Stafford will perform Christmas and pop tunes on acoustic guitar and mandolin in front of the Orris (265 Merchant) until about 3 p.m.

Meanwhile, Vernon Flieg, another local talent, will be performing traditional country ad Christmas tunes in Lion’s Park.

The music really gets going at 1 p.m., with music in several venues. The Southeast Missouri State University (SEMO) Chamber Choir, directed by Dr. Barbara LaMont, will perform in the Church of Ste. Genevieve, featuring Renaissance period pieces, up to contemporary holiday selections.

The SEMO String Quartet will perform at Holy Cross Lutheran Church (200 Market), while the Isaac Laussell Trio will perform modern jazz with standards in Latin music at First Presbyterian Church (160 S. Main).

Both groups also play again at 2 p.m.

Rolfe calls Dr. Isaac Laussel, who has led the guitar program at the SIU-Carbondale School of Music since 2012, “a genius”

“He’s so special,” she said. “He came up over 10 years ago. One of his prodigy students had the flu and couldn’t make it and he didn’t think anybody else was good enough and he came up. He loved doing it so much, he asked to come back the next year. Then, the following year he called back and asked if he could bring his jazz band.”