Monday, December 5, 2011

Portland Singing Christmas Tree

Dear kababayans:

Thank you very much to all who came and experienced the Singing Christmas Tree with us. Each year, although it may seem that we may sing the same songs, we really don't because the arrangements are different. Of course, there are standards like Handel's Alleluia -- but even that we put a variation in this year! Do you have a clue how many alto voices I've learned for "Joy to the World" in just the five years I've been on the Tree?

I wanted to take this opportunity to share with you some thoughts stemming from my gratitude for this opportunity to be a part of this 49-year old tradition. First, I have a natural affinity because it was started the year I was born, I never thought growing up that my life would lead me here and that I would be part of something so wonderful.

My best experiences from being a part of The Tree comes NOT from singing on stage, but from meeting and talking to audiences after the shows. The performers have a chance to go do meet-and-greets, and I always beeline toward multi-generational families for short chats. I am always thrilled to know how much The Tree means to them, not just as a show, but as a part of their holiday tradition. I have met people who have come since the very beginning, and find the Tree to literally usher in their Christmas season. I have met people who've walked away with joy in their hearts, even when they walked in with so much sadness and sometimes despair.

We have a preview night (also our tech/dress rehearsal) that we open for free (by invite only) to those people who cannot afford tickets. This year was especially moving, as was addressed in our show, because of all the hardships abound. Jim Boehner (our director) is such an inspirational and moving speaker that he leads us in prayer every week before and after we rehearse. This year, more than any other that I've known, the needs brought forth for prayers have been exponential and serious...but together we are able to provide support and caring and comfort for one another.

Yes, the Singing Christmas Tree is not just a show, but a MINISTRY. The other reason why I embrace it is because it gives me a vision of the POSSIBILITY. This organization began in a tiny church, when a group of people gathered to discuss the possibility of bringing something new to Portland…a Singing Christmas Tree! With optimism, zeal, and lots of faith, these “pioneers” began what has now become a renowned holiday tradition in the City of Portland. And this Christmas, this group will be performing in the World Nativity Festival to be held in Bethlehem at Manger Square on December 27th!

The other day, when people noticed that I gathered the Filipinos in the production for a group picture...a bunch went out of their way to say to me "we are so happy and glad that we have you 'pinecones' -- you LITERALLY add color to The Tree!" And I know for a fact that they meant it with much warmth and sincerity!

So, as we move on to our 50th year, maybe more of you will consider supporting us -- even if not to sing, but to volunteer during our performances, we always need all the behind-the-scenes and front lobby help that we can get!


;) Dolly Pangan-Specht