LHS Choir Helps Light the City
On Dec. 1 the entire community came together for the 29th Lathrop Tree Lighting Ceremony. This is a time for not only the lighting of the tree, but also a time to get into the Christmas spirit with hot chocolate, cookies, and some Christmas carols.
Mr. Zachary Jones, Director of Parks and Recreation, welcomed the community to enjoy the Tree Lighting Ceremony. In his speech, Jones acknowledged the Lathrop-Manteca Firefighters for coming together and dedicating time to help Parks and Recreation set up for the Tree Lighting Ceremony on short notice.
After Jones addressed the crowd, the choir performed.
“We spent three months on this,” said choir member Dakota Torres-O’Callaghan. “I hope the audience enjoys it the way I did when learning the songs.”
The choirs that performed were the Lathrop Elementary School Choir, Lathrop Area Music Program (LAMP) Choir, and the Lathrop High School Choir.
“I loved the LAMP choir’s song ‘Celebrate Hanukkah’ especially with the choreography that they added to it,” said LAMP band member Pranav Vemparala.
LAMP Choir provided diversity in the songs that they performed by alternating songs with upbeat tempos with those that were calmer.
They also added a cultural variety by singing a song about Hanukkah. The songs they sang were Celebrate Hanukkah, Good Night, and Wintersong with a few Lathrop High Choir women.
They added tiny bits of choreography to the song Celebrate Hanukkah by clapping at the end of every other stanza. At the end of the song, they all clapped in unison and made their hands look like fireworks in the sky.
After the LAMP Choir’s performance, Lathrop Mayor Sonny Dhaliwal took the stage to dedicate prayers to the Paradise fire victims as well as the men and women in uniform. He wished that everyone—regardless of religion—include the Paradise fire victims in their thoughts and prayers.
He thanked everyone who came out to celebrate the Tree Lighting Ceremony. He gave a special thanks to the Lathrop, LAMP, and LHS choirs as well as to Lathrop Lions club, LHS Leadership, and Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus.
“Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year,” said Dhaliwal. “May this holiday season be joyful and bright and filled with love and laughter.”
Lathrop High School (LHS) Choir then took the spotlight and sang three holiday classics. The LHS Concert Choir threw in a tiny move at the end of their song Jinglin’ Bells. In the song Last Christmas, there were multiple small groups and solosists who performed individual parts.
“The audience this year was by far the best audience we’ve ever had,” said LHS and LAMP Choir director Elizabeth VanEerde.
“They were really into the songs and moved along with the rhythm.”
Along with inviting the two special visitors from the North Pole, Lathrop Lions Club also had some hot chocolate and cookies waiting for the community.
Overall, the 2018 Lathrop Tree Lighting Ceremony was a heartwarming way to welcome the holiday season, but also a gentle reminder to think of others and perform acts of kindness.