HOWELL – Despite torrential downpours, a huge crowd came out to celebrate the holiday season with a menorah and tree lighting ceremony.
Students from different segments of Howell Township High School’s music program entertained guests who sipped on hot chocolate as they watched them perform.
Members of the high school’s brass choir stood poised with instruments for the opening set of the concert – giving absolute credence to the notion of resounding joy. Three high school acapella groups followed, singing familiar Christmas and Hanukkah tunes.
Joseph Cantaffa, Howell High School music teacher directed the three groups as they added to the holiday spirit in the room. Approximately thirty students from Reverb, Revelation, and the school’s varsity team Rebel Remix made for a stunning collection of voices.
“Guys, your music was outstanding,” said Mayor Theresa Berger, as she called for a second round of applause for the performers. “It’s wet out there, but we want to go out there and light those lights. I want all the young kids out by the tree, so we can all light it together.”
Seemingly ignoring the rain, a crowd of people ventured outside to get the first glance of the lights shimmer on the enormous tree at Echo Lake Park.
While a spotlight was set up to focus on the Menorah, local authorities shared the reason the first light wasn’t illuminated last Sunday evening.
“Hanukkah hasn’t started yet,” reminded Paul Novello, Director of Public Works. “We plan to keep a spotlight on the menorah with the first candle lit after sundown on December 18th.”
The Festival of Lights received recognition as a time for lighting candles nightly and the exchange of gifts – while enjoying the pleasure of eating potato latkes.
Families stayed outside a little longer as screaming sirens suggested a firetruck was nearing the area. Absolutely no one seemed fearful that an emergency was imminent, as the air rang with a feeling of anticipation.
As firefighters helped the big jolly guy out of the cab, Mrs. Claus and an elf joined him for a brief stroll through the crowd. With a big ho, ho, ho and a smile, Santa settled down on a couch by the fireplace.
The Howell mayor may or may not have whispered what special things she hoped Santa would bring as gifts. Though Berger didn’t break Christmas magic and comment, word is the mayor wished for peace and goodwill among all Howell residents.
The township’s holiday celebration concluded with Santa visiting with each of the children lined up to meet him.