Thunder Bay

Kenora school creates Grinch film to save their Christmas concert tradition

The St. Louis Living arts School in Kenora wasn’t about to let the COVID-19 pandemic take away one of its holiday traditions.
The St. Louis Living Arts School in Kenora repurposed their annual Christmas concert into a 10-minute film. (St. Louis Living Arts School)

A Kenora school wasn't about to let the COVID-19 pandemic take away one of its holiday traditions.

Every year, the St. Louis Living Arts School has an annual Christmas concert that is a highlight not just for students, staff and parents, but the whole community.

This year, with a traditional event not possible, the school created a film with the theme of the Grinch trying to steal their Christmas concert — How the Grinch Stole the St. Louis Christmas Concert.

Kerri Favreau, a kindergarten teacher and the film's production manager, said the school already had to cancel one planned performance in 2020 when they lost their spring musical but wasn't going to have that happen again.

"We just couldn't cancel it. It wasn't an option for us," Favreau said. "Rather than cancel another, we just had to get creative. We did kind of feel the Grinch was trying to steal our Christmas and we collectively decided it wasn't going to happen."

Favreau said the idea for the project came in September, but along with re-writing the script, there were a lot of challenges to make it a reality.

"We just had to figure out so many things, such as how to include every single child in the school without mixing any cohorts, how to carry out all the scenes safely and following protocols, and most importantly how to create something that would capture the heart of our school," Favreau said.

As many as 130 people were involved in putting the 10-minute film together, along with support from the Ontario Arts Council through the artists in residence program, she added.

"The people from Kenora and Keewatin, their hearts are full when they're watching it," Favreau said. 

"Especially people that are adults now that maybe went here as students growing up who recognized the stage and who know how special the concert is to our school to be able to reconnect with that and feel some Christmas spirit."

Favreau said it was important to remember the people who, over the years, built the Christmas concert into such a strong tradition.

"I just think of all the teachers who came before me here and the idea of carrying it through when faced with a challenge was really important to show resilience," she said.