It’s tradition at Capital to host a tree lighting ceremony to celebrate the upcoming holiday season.
When I first arrived at the lighting, there was a light snowfall that heightened the winter atmosphere while Christmas songs were playing on the loudspeakers. I soon made my way to the beverage tables that offered hot chocolate and hot apple cider.
Before the event, the members of the Chapel Choir came to the front of Yochum Hall to do their warm-ups. They were accompanied by pianist and Director of Consort Choir, Chad Baker. The opening number was a piece called “Philomel.” They also performed my personal favorite Christmas song, “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.”
The choir invited the crowd to join along for “Joy to the World.” Dr. Lynda Hasseler, the director of Chapel Choir, advertised the upcoming wonder-themed Christmas Festival scheduled from Dec. 1-3 at 7:30 p.m. and Dec. 4 at 3:30 p.m. It will feature performances from the Chapel Choir, Choral Union, Cantabile, Consort and a variety of instrumentalists. You can get tickets on the university website.
After the Chapel Choir finished their set, there were a few speakers preceded by a prayer. A special announcement was made to highlight CapCloset as a resource providing students with free professional clothing for job interviews and other occasions.
The last speaker was President Dr. Dave Kaufman. This year marks his third time presiding over the ceremony. During his speech, Kaufman mentioned three of the university’s partners: The Open Shelter, First Lutheran Church and 22nd Street Cookies.
The Open Shelter is a charitable organization dedicated to providing assistance and shelter to homeless and marginally housed people in central Ohio. The First Lutheran Church has provided services to university students.
I got the chance to speak with President Kaufman about the ceremony. He called it “One of the most special traditions we have,” crediting the time of year, the atmosphere and sense of community. Each of the three years he’s presided over the ceremony gave him a different experience or “flavor,” as he put it. He expressed his wish that the event should be promoted more, so that more students can attend.
The Admissions Office had a table for anyone to make a homemade Christmas card. They plan to send the cards to a local nursing home to bring the residents some holiday cheer.
The charitable organization 22nd Street Cookies had a table selling their cookie dough. Their mission is to “Bake a Difference.” They achieve this goal by employing “local teens who face obstacles to create the cookie dough.” While under their care, the teens will develop workplace skills, as well as social and emotional learning.
When the time for the main event came, Kauffman was joined by Santa Claus to light the tree. The audience counted down to the moment when the lights came on. Once the tree lit up in its purple and white glory, the crowd cheered.
When it was all over, Santa made his way to his seat to take photos with children. I also saw a few Capital students talk to him and posing for photos.
With this year’s ceremony finished, we wait another year before the next tree lighting. In the meantime, there are many things to look forward to this holiday season. From Christmas Festival to other holidays, there are many seasonal activities to do on and off campus.