HOLTVILLE — Cool temperatures and a steady breeze were a sure sign of winter and, despite the whirlwind of holiday preparations, Holtville residents jammed Holt Park’s gazebo area on the evening of Dec. 5 for the traditional lighting of the town Christmas tree.
Those gathering also enjoyed
the beautiful noise of Holtville school choirs.
A city sponsored event,
Fire Chief Alex Silva welcomed the throng and despite threatening skies noted
they hoped it would not rain “and so far so good.”
Opening the choral extravaganza was the Finley Elementary School TK (transitional kindergarten) Choir. Principal Lupita Perez was stationed at the sound system near the civic center columns to offer moral support.
“We appreciate having the
city participate in the tree lighting,” she said. “What I really enjoy is
seeing the community come together and all the various individuals come out to
join the celebration.”
Ellen Underwood directed
the TK Choir that performed a spirited medley of “Wish You a Merry
Christmas/Good Tidings to You” and “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.”
“It was cute,” said
Underwood after she finished conducting the children. “However, they are only
half of our choir. This is their first time singing (publicly). But it’s good
practice for our program on Dec. 17 at the Finley Auditorium.”
The Finley GATE (gifted
and talented education) Choir followed next with a selection of some favorite
pop Christmas tunes. The older elementary students especially put gusto into
classics such as “Rocking Around the Christmas Tree” and “Jingle Bell Rock.”
This ensemble was under the direction of Lovette Stiff.
Yvonne Moreno, of the Viking Band Of Pride, explained prior to her Advanced Choir performing they had six selections ready but admitted it was hard to single out a stalwart number.
“I always loved “Feliz
Navidad” because everyone sings along,” she said. “It’s nice to have people
sing in Spanish. And I love watching the little ones sing and dance. It’s
exciting to see them get excited about music. They’re the future and we
(teachers) know we’ll inherit them eventually.”
At the opening number,
“Last Christmas,” soloist Victor Valencia was showered with calls of
encouragement from classmates in the audience.
That was followed by a
chilling rendition of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” by the sopranos and tenors
section of the Advanced Choir and that segued into a soulful “Let it Snow.” The soloist, Nicholas Singh, had a good vocal
range that helped propel the melody along.
“I like singing it and I
like the Christmas season,” he said. “It’s an opportunity to hang out with
family. We’ll be visiting my grandparents in Los Angeles. I last visited there
a year ago and it’s a fun place to be.”