Lander welcomes Christmas season with gala tree lighting ceremony and concert
-Lander University will usher in the holiday season on Tuesday, Dec. 1, with a tree lighting ceremony and a musical celebration of Christmas, featuring local high school students and faculty and students in Lander’s music department.
Festivities will begin at 6 p.m. at the Chipley Hall Circle. President Richard Cosentino will offer holiday greetings then, with the flip of a switch, the campus Christmas tree will be set aglow.
Musical entertainment will be provided by the Greenwood High School Show Choir, the Emerald High School Concert Choir and Lander’s Student Brass Ensemble.
Other activities will include horse-drawn carriage rides around the campus, beginning at 5:30 p.m.; gingerbread house and tacky sweater contests; and ornament making. S’mores and hot chocolate will be among the holiday treats available.
Lander employee Tommy Tumblin, also known on campus and in the community as Tommy Claus, will add his special brand of Christmas cheer to the festivities. People who attend the celebration are asked to bring a new toy to add to the collection of toys Tumblin is accumulating to be distributed as Christmas gifts to hundreds of children in the Greenwood area. Nonperishable food items will also be accepted for Lander’s Bearcat Essentials, operated by the university’s Wellness Center.
The holiday celebration will then move indoors to the Josephine B. Abney Cultural Center Auditorium for a Christmas concert.
Lila Noonkester, chair of Lander’s Department of Music, said the program, “Fa La La Collage,” will feature traditional carols and other family-favorite holiday songs.
The performers will be members of the Lander University Wind Ensemble; Old Main Singers; the Lander Faculty Brass Quintet; Lander’s Jazz Ensemble; the student Brass Quintet; and the GreenWood Winds, as well as individual soloists.
The concert, which is free and open to the public, will begin at 8 p.m.