Christmas tree sparkles in city park
Last Thursday night's ceremony to light the mayor's Christmas tree in Reusch VFW Memorial Park kicked off with a special performance by a new group in town.
The "Cool Kids Choir," made up of 37 fourth- and fifth-grade students at Tonganoxie Elementary School, opened the night by singing seven Christmas carols.
Sharon Stratton, music teacher at the school, said she was proud of the students who formed their group early this semester.
"This is something they do on their own time," Stratton said. "They meet after school on Mondays and Wednesdays."
The children didn't have much time to prepare for Thursday's performance for about 300 people, Stratton said.
"The kids have done real well," she said. "They practiced Monday and Wednesday, and performed Thursday night."
Stratton said she was pleased with the popularity of the choir among students.
"It's just exciting that so many kids will come to something like this," Stratton said. "They're very good at attending the rehearsals, and they take their singing seriously."
Next week, the students will sing at Tonganoxie Nursing Center, and the week after that, the group will sing Christmas carols around town.
The high school flute trio also performed, with Jessica Wiles, Sarah Subelka and Sarah Melchior playing Christmas carols. Charles VanMiddlesworth, band director, said the girls earned a one-rating at a recent state music competition.
Another star performer was Amanda Albert, Tonganoxie fourth-grade student, who took the stage with her father, Pat Albert, president of Tonganoxie Chamber of Commerce. Wearing a red flannel nightgown and sleeping cap, Amanda recited the poem, "Twas the Night Before Christmas."
Mayor John Franiuk then lit the mayor's Christmas tree.
Santa's arrival on a fire truck culminated the evening's activities.