The St. John’s Children’s Choir performed many beloved — and some more obscure — Christmas carols at the Fraser Public Library on Dec. 2.

The St. John’s Children’s Choir performed many beloved — and some more obscure — Christmas carols at the Fraser Public Library on Dec. 2.

Photo by Brendan Losinski

Children’s choir returns to Fraser Library

By: Brendan Losinski | Fraser-Clinton Chronicle | Published December 19, 2022


FRASER — The children’s choir of Saint John Lutheran Church and School continued a holiday season tradition this year with its annual performance at the Fraser Public Library.

Each year, the choir kicks off the Christmas season with a performance of carols from around the world.

“They have been doing this for many years,” said programming and youth services librarian Kristin Getzin. “We couldn’t do it during COVID, but once everything opened back up again, they were excited to come back. It’s always a really great start to the Christmas and holiday season. It’s very joyful to have children in here singing.”

The choir is led by Mel Machemer, the director of music at the church.

“It’s a fifth through eighth grade, all volunteer group. St. Lutheran School is the school associated with the church so the students (attend) the school,” explained Machemer. “They are mostly kids in the church’s congregation. … There are 36 kids in the choir.”

The choir performed 16 songs on Dec. 2.

“They do a performance of Christmas carols for us every year which is very nice,” said Getzin. “They invite their families and we invite the community. It really gets everyone in the mood for the holidays.”

Getzin added that it’s part of the library’s efforts to consistently offer entertaining and enriching programs for the public.

“We always have programming going on every month,” she said. “We have our monthly programs like our book clubs and our storytimes, but we also try to do new and exciting things, usually based on a holiday that month or if we have some cool presenters. It’s open to anybody in the Macomb County area. Everyone is welcome.”

Machemer said the students work hard on their collection of songs and that they can be adaptive, even including several songs in other languages such as German and Polish.

“The kids rehearse throughout the school year,” he said. “The songs that we sing are things we mostly have worked on for just for a rehearsal or two. Others are songs we have done before for the kids who were part of the choir in previous years. We split up into groups and then put it all together. … They love to sing. I can throw the craziest thing in a foreign language at them, and they’ll get it down.”

The library performance also helps prepare them for performances at the church’s annual Boar’s Head Festival and for Christmas services later in the month.

“We have a Boar’s Head Festival that we do in December. We perform there as well,” Machemer said. “It’s a celebration of some traditional Christmas elements, and we bring in an orchestra and some of the adults from the adult choir for that as well.”

Machemer believes that Saint John’s is one of the best choirs in the area and that many other choirs are shrinking and losing public support.

“From what I’m seeing after 34 years at Saint John’s is that a lot of choirs are dwindling away at a lot of schools,” he said. “Music is a big part of both our church and school, and I hope we keep getting kids who will sing.”

He hopes the public enjoys the performance as much as the kids do and that it helps make the Christmas season a bit more merry.

“I think it’s fun to come and sing Christmas carols,” Machemer said. “It’s interesting how many people don’t know some of them. We sing a lot of the sacred carols and the kids enjoy getting to sing some of the others like ‘Frosty’ and ‘Rudolph,’ too. I’d say it’s good fun for the kids and their parents and the whole community.”