Over the years, we have provided service to a wide variety of clients from all walks of life but yesterday was the first time (to my knowledge) that we actually had a singing tree in our studio. Not the entire tree of course, just one of its leaves or branches.
Our client performed in an annual Christmas pageant at First Baptist Church in Orlando familiarly known as The Singing Christmas Trees and it is quite the spectacular. It got me to thinking about Christmas trees in general and how they became a thing in this country.
According to Wikipedia, the first Christmas trees were brought to the US in the 1740s by Moravian settlers. They came from an area that is now part of the Czech Republic (where many of my ancestors are from). The first commercial tree lot was set up in New York City in 1851 and not long after, President Franklin Pierce set up the first official White House Christmas tree in 1856.
While celebrants often would gather around their decorated trees and sing carols, the idea of actually placing carolers inside of the trees has been traced back to Bellhaven College in Jackson, Mississippi who held their first Singing Christmas Tree concert in 1933. Since then it has been duplicated and modified at schools and churches around the world.
The First Baptist version taking place in Orlando is an elaborate stage show that began in 1980 and grew to include a quarter million synchronized lights, a 300 member choir stacked to the rafters in 2 giant tree shaped structures, and a 50 piece orchestra.
According to my client, there’s a lot of unheralded work that takes place behind the scenes as well. To prevent injuries or discomfort that may come from standing in place for the length of the show, designated “tree rests” work backstage massaging legs and checking on choir members while the show is in progress. Thankful choir members have taken to taping pieces of candy to the back of their legs as a little thank you to these tireless workers for the welcomed relief they bring.
It is almost time to open the curtain on this year’s Singing Christmas Trees. Here’s how to get tickets.
Michael Ondrasik and Home Video Studio of Mount Dora specialize in the preservation of family memories through the digitalization of film, videotapes, audio recordings, photos, negatives, and slides. For more information, call 352-735-8550 or visit our website.