By Julie Muhlstein Herald Columnist
Mary Ann Karber’s favorite Christmas song is “Silent Night.”
Friday afternoon, she and her 91-year-old husband, Dave Karber, will sing that beloved carol and many more as they lend their voices to a 70-member choir. They’ll be part of a “Making Christmas Memories” concert starting at 1 p.m. at Everett’s First Baptist Church.
Free for Everett-area seniors, the event is called “a Christmas gift” by Senior Adult Ministries of First Baptist Church, the concert sponsor.
Invitations have gone out to local retirement homes. A similar performance last December would have been a sell-out — had the church charged admission.
“We were overloaded. Every seat was taken, and we had to send people out into the Pacific Room,” said John Sinkevitch, conductor of the chorale today.
For Sinkevitch, the annual event is a kind of homecoming.
“It’s like old times,” said the 78-year-old, who for 22 years was music director at First Baptist Church. He and his wife, Jan, now live at the Warm Beach Senior Community, and Sinkevitch is a music leader at the Warm Beach Free Methodist Church.
“I enjoy doing that. Music is my life experience,” Sinkevitch said.
Dave and Mary Ann Karber are involved in First Baptist’s Senior Adult Ministries. The Everett couple have been singing for years under Sinkevitch’s direction.
“We’ve kind of followed John Sinkevitch. He used to be choir director at First Baptist for many years,” Mary Ann Karber said. Before that, Dave Karber sang in the Everett Gospel Mission Men’s Chorus. Sinkevitch directed that chorus, which for 30 years until his farewell concert in 2002 raised as much as $11,000 a year for the mission, which operates shelters and a transitional housing facility.
“He loves music, and he gives that feeling to us,” Mary Ann Karber, 88, said of Sinkevitch. “He wants the feeling of the music, more than perfection.”
The Karbers sang Wednesday with a chorus conducted by Sinkevitch for the Providence General Foundation’s Festival of Trees at Comcast Arena. Friday’s concert, in the decorated sanctuary of First Baptist, features singers from several area churches. It will cap weeks of rehearsals.
“We enjoy singing,” Mary Ann Karber said. “We’re not professional singers, but we enjoy contributing and we enjoy good music.”
“Silent Night” is her favorite carol. Today’s program includes other traditional hymns and carols — “Joy to the World,” “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” “O Come All Ye Faithful” and “Amazing Grace” — and on some, the audience will be asked to sing along.
Also on the bill Friday are the First Presbyterian Bell Choir, a solo by Steve Torrence, and the recitation of the 19th century Henry Wadsworth Longfellow poem, “Christmas Bells,” by Gene Dobson, a longtime Everett teacher.
Dave Karber also spent his career in education. Before retirement, he taught sociology at Everett Community College.
For the Karbers, it wouldn’t be Christmas without music.
“It’s different than putting the emphasis on shopping right away,” Mary Ann Karber said.
“It gets us in the spirit of the true meaning of Christmas.”
Julie Muhlstein: 425-339-3460; email@example.com.
Christmas concert Friday for seniors
The First Baptist Church of Everett will host a free concert for seniors.
Music begins at 1 p.m. with an organ prelude, followed by the “Making Christmas Memories” concert at 1:30 p.m. John Sinkevitch will conduct a 70-voice chorale.
The program includes caroling, the Everett First Presbyterian Church Bell Choir, soloist Steve Torrence, and a reading of the Henry Wadsworth Longfellow poem, “Christmas Bells.”
First Baptist Church is at 1616 Pacific Ave.