Tahlequah Daily Press

Local News

December 4, 2013

Season of sparkle

The Jolly Old Elf stopped in for Lights On at Seminary Hall at Northeastern State University Tuesday evening

TAHLEQUAH — Continuing a tradition dating back 20 years, officials for the city of Tahlequah and Northeastern State University jointly flipped the switch Tuesday for Lights On at Seminary Hall.

Held at dusk in front of the venerable campus building, Lights On was hosted by Tahlequah Mayor Jason Nichols, and Penny Turner, wife of NSU President Steve Turner.

“This is the first time I’ve attended Lights On,” said Misty Smith of Stilwell. “I came here to watch my daughters perform in the dances. Both were in the Hot Chocolate number and my oldest was in the Irish dance.”

Jennifer Nichols, wife of the mayor, was in attendance with their 3-year-old daughter. She said her child most enjoys the singing and dancing at the event.

“We are hoping she can visit Santa this year,” Nichols said. “She has been a bit scared of him in the past.”

Nichols was also complimentary of those who organized Lights On.

“I think it is wonderful that the city and the university work together to create this,” she said. “It is a big event that the community really enjoys and supports.”

Showcasing their artistic talents for the event were the Tahlequah High School Show Choir, the Tahlequah Performing Arts Academy, the Tahlequah Public Schools elementary choirs, NSU’s River City Players and the NSU Brass Quintet.

The evening opened with the performance of Christmas carols by the Brass Quintet, followed by a group from the TPAA who danced to “Hot Chocolate.”

Michael Rappe and Sydney Jennings of the River City Players performed the duet “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” after a vocal performance of Christmas carols sung by the TPS Show Choir.

The crowd was then treated to an Irish dance by TPAA performers, and singing by students from Cherokee, Greenwood and Heritage elementary schools - featuring perhaps the most enjoyable carol to hear sung by children, “Jingle Bells.”

The elves arrived with Mrs. Claus, who read “A Visit From St. Nicholas.” After a performance of “Feliz Navidad” by RCP performers Rappe, Brian Tschirhart and Hanson Johnson, the star of the show, Santa, burst from the front doors of Seminary. Children had their pictures taken with Santa at a mobile toy workshop in the Seminary Hall foyer.

Special guests of Lights On included Bill John Baker, principal chief of the Cherokee Nation; George Wickliffe, chief of the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians; Miss NSU 2014 Latasha Atcity; and Steve Turner.

The end of the ceremony included the traditional arrival of Santa, who had his picture taken with local children.

srowley@tahlequahdailypress.com

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