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"Looking back over the past 10 years was not only fun and rewarding, but it was touching and heartwarming too. Seeing choir students from the past, always singing their hearts out for Muskegon and beyond, was simply wonderful. In the end, we did our best to include here some “fan and student favorites” with the idea of also doing our best to create a balanced and entertaining show. We knew too that we wanted to include at least a few things from this year’s choir, We decided on three auditioned specialty acts and felt including our entire choir, singing our classic “Siyahamba,” would also be most appropriate. "

Premieres Dec 18 7PM, available for a limited time only. Also Available on our ROKU and Fire TV.

VIEWING HAD BEEN EXPIRED

 

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Texy by Shawn Lawton and JaiLynn Petrie, Mona Shores Choir Association

The Mona Shores Choir Association gathered last summer to begin to consider the fate of this year’s Tree and one thing became clear: We had to do SOMETHING! After 35 years, our community looks forward to this event as a way to kick off their holiday season. We needed a way to fill the inevitable void, if Tree were to be shut down. After much lively discussion the idea to present some sort of “retrospective” look back at past Trees gained the most traction. 

As JaiLynn Petrie, my partner in crime in the choir program,  my wife Molly Lawton, and I began to dig through all the past programs, spreadsheets, DVDs and then VHSs of the past shows, it became evident that after 35 years, there was a literal ton of music this choir has sung! Just since I began teaching here in 1993, the choir has sung 676 pieces over the past 27 years of my tenure alone; this show could become very lengthy quite quickly!

And that’s how we came to the decision of a 10 year retrospective. We apologize to all the choir alumni and families out there that didn’t make the cut, but we hope you understand! I would say we’ll do this again “next time” but let’s hope we never go through anything like this again!

Looking back over the past 10 years was not only fun and rewarding, but it was touching and heartwarming too. Seeing choir students from the past, always singing their hearts out for Muskegon and beyond, was simply wonderful. In the end, we did our best to include here some “fan and student favorites” with the idea of also doing our best to create a balanced and entertaining show. If a song doesn’t show up here tonight that you were certain would, please know that making these cuts was often brutal! And sometimes things just don’t sound as great on DVD as they did when they were live, in the beautiful acoustics of the Frauenthal Center for the Arts. Maybe you’ll have to dig up your old recordings and have a listen again yourself.

We knew too that we wanted to include at least a few things from this year’s choir, which became very difficult when only seeing the students twice a week, masked, socially distanced and only being able to sing for 30 minutes each on those two days. We decided on three auditioned specialty acts and felt including our entire choir, singing our classic “Siyahamba,” would also be most appropriate.

Our hope here is that you will get a taste of the Tree that will hopefully warm your holiday heart  just a little bit in this most challenging 2020.  Special thanks to Andy O’Riley, Derek Wong and their team at The Muskegon Channel for continually taking on the projects we dream up. Thanks to the Mona Shores Administration for their unwavering support and to the Mona Shores Choir Association both present and past for 35 years of Tree magic. And most importantly, thanks to all the students and alumni of the Mona Shores High School Choir program. None of this would be possible without all the countless hours of solfeggio, repetition, memorization and finally standing still in this gigantic, sometimes hot and sometimes freezing cold structure while singing your hearts and souls out year after year!  You have never failed to entertain us with your professionalism, energetic and impassioned singing, and the love we could feel coming out of that Tree.

Lastly, to our choir seniors, we love you and are just so sorry that this 36th season of the Singing Christmas Tree did not happen this December. Our hearts go out to all that you have lost and we are so proud of you for your perseverance in these most challenging times. It is truly unfortunate and unbelievable that this has happened to you.

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