SHAMOKIN - Sunday's rainy weather couldn't dampen the spirits of the Mother Cabrini Catholic Church congregation who were treated to an afternoon of choral selections.

The Archbishop Curley High School Choir and Handbell Ringers, from Baltimore, Md., made a return appearance with a two-hour performance of spiritual numbers and Christmas tunes.

There weren't quite as many people as last year, but The Rev. Martin Kobos thanked the faithful for coming.

"You see, boys, this is coal region strength," Kobos said. "Everyone here braved the elements to enjoy this great program of music."

Kobos said the school had trouble getting to the Shamokin area because of the inclement weather.

"When they were coming on Interstate 81, the windows were fogging up terrible and ice was forming on the mirrors, but they arrived on time and are ready to perform," the reverend said.

Led by choirmaster Michael Gaffney, who founded the choir in 1998, the 40-member male chorus performs about 20 songs for those in attendance.

The first half of the concert featured songs including "Let There Be Peace on Earth" and "Mary's Little Boy Child," along with "Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening," with lyrics taken from a Robert Frost poem.

After a performance by the handbell ringers and intermission, the choir returned with some non-traditional selections, such as the Leonard Cohen classic "Hallelujah," and a version of "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town" in the vocal style of Bruce Springsteen.

One song that got a little bit of a laugh was "The Twelve Days After Christmas," when a character in the song got into a fight with their true love and returned the gifts in unflattering ways, such as using the three French hens to make chicken soup to heal an ailing mother and giving the six geese no longer a-laying to the ASPCA.

"The Eighth Day after Christmas, before they could suspect," the choir sang. "I bundled up the eight maids a-milking, nine ladies dancing, 10 lords a leaping, 11 pipers piping and 12 drummers drumming..."

"Well, actually," one choir member spoke, "I kept one of the maids-a-milkin."

"And sent them back, collect," the choir sang."

At the end, the audience joined with the choir to close out the holiday season with the singing of, "O Come, All Ye Faithful," "Silent Night" and "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing."

Following the concert, the students met with the audience for some refreshments before departing for home.

A special offering was taken to help defray expenses of the choir traveling from Maryland.