Singing Christmas Tree needs some more singers

Sean C. Morgan

Rehearsals for the 30th Annual Singing Christmas Tree performance are under way, but the choir still has openings for anyone interested in joining.

“We’ve got a small choir this year, but it sounds good already,” said Sue Olson, chairwoman of the Singing Christmas Tree committee. The fourth rehearsal was held Thursday night.

The tree has 24 members, down from about 30 last year, Olson said. “We’re hoping more people will come. We invited all past members whose addresses we had.”

Deadline to sign up for the choir is mid-October, Olson said.

Rehearsals are weekly, alternating between Tuesdays and Thursdays. This week, rehearsal was scheduled for Tuesday.

David Dominy returns for his fifth year as director. Bill Langdon returns as accompanist and his 25th year with the tree. Other 25-year members include Olson, Sherry Johnston and Clarene Meyers.

The children’s choir numbers about 30, about the same as last year, Olson said.

The theme this year is, “Christmas Through a Child’s Eyes,” Olson said. Members of the Singing Christmas Tree get together in March to select the theme. Whoever attends the meeting throws out ideas and then helps select the theme.

“When the foyer gets decorated, it’ll be kid-oriented, anything you can imagine a child would think of as Christmas,” Olson said. Santa and Mrs. Claus will be available during the intermission in the foyer.

And the program will feature a medley based on the story of Mr. Grinch, Olson said. The Singing Christmas Tree is seeking a person to play the part of the Grinch.

The Sweet Home High School Dance team and possibly the Junior High Dance Team will perform a number too, “Step into Christmas,” by Elton John.

Johnston will perform a solo, “Yes, Virginia,” a song based on the famous editorial about Santa Claus.

It was a song she heard a couple of years ago during the Macy’s parade and decided she wanted to perform, Olson said.

The Singing Christmas Tree members are playing up the 30th anniversary a little this year, Olson said. “It’s another decade of the tree. We’ve never had a break. Even the Jamboree had a break.”

The Singing Tree has been self-sustaining all of those years, and the event is free, funded on a donation basis.

The annual event began 30 years ago when Connie Nice, a studio photographer in Sweet Home, came up with the idea. She had performed in a singing Christmas tree when she was in high school, and she had a fondness for it.

“She went to talk to Paul Rowton about it, and they decided to do it,” Olson said. They did one performance the first year. Over the next decade, the Singing Christmas Tree had two performances, and for the past 20 years, it has had three performances during the first full weekend in December.

Rowton directed the choir for 25 years, splitting the duties with Dominy in his 25th year. Dominy took over full-time four years ago, while Ben Pickett handled director duties one year while Dominy was unable to be heavily involved because of work.

After the third year, the Singing Christmas Tree purchased the scaffolding from Nice’s high school, Olson said. The Singing Tree purchased new scaffolding a few years ago.

Singing Christmas Tree performance times are 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 2 and Dec. 3 and 3 p.m. on Dec. 4 in the Sweet Home High School auditorium.

No admission is required, but donations are accepted.

For more information about the Singing Christmas Tree or to join, call Olson at (541) 367-4639.