Chamber Choir performs in Lighting Ceremony

Chamber Choir performed an a cappella preview of its Winter Concert at the Walnut Valley Women’s Club 23rd annual Lighting of the Scholarship Tree of Lights at Fire Station 61 on Sunday, Dec. 8.

Resembling carolers in their casual dress, Chamber Choir sang a short, winter-themed show that consisted of “Vuelie” from the Disney movie “Frozen,” “Russian Dance,” “Up on the Housetop” and “We Wish you a Merry Christmas.”

“I have performed at this event before and it is always a great experience, singing for other people who genuinely want to hear music. Especially this year, the crowd was so great and enthusiastic. It also felt great because we were singing at a long-standing tradition at Walnut so it gave me a warm feeling in my heart,” junior Petre Quintua said.

Held on the fire station’s lawn, the songs were performed without speakers or musical accompaniment.

“Of course it would be ideal if we sang with speakers, but singing without any equipment helped us really listen to each other, creating the best sound with no one overpowering anyone,” Quintua said.

This year’s lighting ceremony garnered a large audience with residents and parents spilling over into the street and the surrounding sidewalks in an attempt to catch a glimpse of the performers.

“It’s really exciting to see the event grow and I was really surprised to see so many people taking pictures and recording us. It’s become almost a staple in the holiday season to come out to the fire station and light the Christmas tree,” senior Kaitlin Foo said. “I also think it’s great that our community is so involved and that we have this kind of event that people really look forward to.”

After the concert preview from Chamber Choir, three kindergarten classes from Vejar Elementary School sang and danced to “Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star,” “Jingle Bells” and “Snowman.”

“The kindergarteners were absolutely adorable. They had such a carefree spirit about entertaining the crowd, especially their parents. All they cared about was having fun and sharing the Christmas spirit. I think as older kids, we can really learn something from these little kids. They definitely put a smile on my face that night,” senior Christina Surjono said.

Following the customary 10-second countdown, honored tree lighter Jeanne Burgh flipped the switch to light the Scholarship Tree of Lights. Burgh was chosen for being the longest Walnut resident out of the Walnut Valley Women’s Club. At 6:55 p.m., the tree and the 61-shaped shrub were fully lit.

“When everyone counts down together, it brings the sense of unity within the community. Walnut is a small city where not a lot goes on, but our community is knit tightly,” sophomore Matthew Huang said. “The tree lighting ceremony is a big deal for Walnut because the fire station is seen by everyone who drives through the city.”

After the tree lighting, visitors were able to get photos with Santa, the firetrucks and the firehouse dog as well as coffee and homemade treats. Many residents took this opportunity to mull around, getting to know one another and congratulate the singers on their performance.

“It was really festive and nice. Usually for our choir, we don’t get a lot of recognition from the community because they never get to see us. So it’s nice to be able to sing for them and to see them coming out to our events. Everyone was really welcoming,” senior Sabrina Benedicto said.

By Katie Nguyen, Staff Writer

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