PARKERSBURG - Students and community members gathered at Parkersburg High School Tuesday for the annual holiday lighting event.
The event featured performances by the Parkersburg High School A Cappella Choir, the Big Red Band, the Red Wings and McKinley Elementary School students.
The band, conducted by director Dan White, kicked off the night with traditional holiday songs. Student council president Ian Collins welcomed the crowd, gathered in front of the school, and introduced the next performers.
Photo by Mandi Cardosi
The annual tree lighting ceremony was held Tuesday at Parkersburg High School.
"We will now have a performance by the Parkersburg High School Red Wings," Collins said as the crowd began to cheer.
The group danced to "Have a Holly Jolly Christmas" and the crowd gave a warm Christmas cheer.
The Christmas tree dedication was done by Cedar Grove United Methodist Church Pastor Brian Long. He read from Luke Chapter 2.
"There's something about this time of year; it's amazing" he said. "This Christmas season brings out the best in us."
Long reminded the crowd to look to family and forget about the negativity in the world. The peace that passes all understanding comes from Jesus, he said, the reason to celebrate at Christmas time.
Following the dedication, the PHS A Cappella Choir performed under the direction of Pamela McClain. The chorus, among the PHS voice class and freshman choirs rejoiced to the musical tunes of "Caroling, Caroling" and "Carol of the Bells."
The holiday illumination, candle lighting, was conducted as community members lit candles and lifted their voices to the sounds of "Silent Night."
The festivities concluded with a visit from Santa Claus to hand out candy canes to children and all in attendance.
Vice president of student council Beth Hall said it can be tricky to organize the event. Hall, a senior at PHS, has been involved in student council since she was a freshman and said she wished to become a bigger part of it by being an officer this year.
"We have to see when the band and choir aren't out singing and performing in the community," she said of setting up the event.
Collins said he is thankful to assist the community and school, especially with an event such as the tree lighting.
"It encourages you to improve things throughout the year," he said.
PHS Principal Pam Goots thanked the community for attending and the students for their work and involvement in the ceremony.
"I'm delighted to be a part of (the annual tradition)," said Goots. "It has been going on since the early '40s and you all are a huge part of that tradition."