‘It only takes a spark’

Hamlet brightens Christmas season with tree lighting

By Stephanie Spradlin

HAMLET — Thanksgiving is behind us and December starts today — what better way to celebrate than to light up a Christmas tree?

A crowd of approximately 300 people gathered at the Main Street Park in Hamlet Monday evening for the 28th annual tree lighting ceremony.

Stephanie Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com

Stephanie Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com

Mayor Bill Bayless opened the festivities with announcements of the upcoming holiday celebrations and was followed by Pastor John Jackson of New Hope Baptist Church with the invocation.

The crowd was entertained by the chorus of Fairview Heights Elementary School chorus.  The attending students, led by chorus director Melanie Cole, of Cheraw, S.C., were about 50 strong and ranged from third graders to fifth graders.    The kids sang “The Little Snowflake” and “Santa is my Buddy.”  The group even boasted a young man who sang that he and the man in red are “on a first name basis.”

Pastor Chris Hawks of Second Baptist Church read the crowd part of the Christmas Story as told by Luke in chapter two of his gospel.  During the reading, members of Outreach for Jesus acted out a live nativity.

Forty-seven children from Second Baptist Day School’s chorus also participated in the Tree Lighting ceremony.  The chorus performed two songs. During “Silent Night,” students in grades kindergarten through second grade sang while the older students of Silent Witness, a mime team, gestured along.

Their second selection was “Pass it On,” the lyrics to which include “it only takes a spark.” The performance was accompanied by a candle lighting as well.

Tristan Chavis, 6, is a kindergarten student at Second Baptist Day School.  He said said that this was his favorite of the two.

“I don’t know why, I just like it,” he said.

Stephanie Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com

Stephanie Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com

Tristan said he wished he could have a candle, though.  Silent Witness lit candles held by adults in the crowd during the performance of this song.  The team of Mandy Martin, Michelle Howlett and Ann Miller oversee the school chorus and the latter two of this team direct Silent Witness as well.

City Manager Marcus Abernethy took the mic to introduce Ashton Locklear, a hometown gymnastic star, who counted down to the tree lighting.  Abernethy said that Locklear’s exceptional work ethic garnered her endless support from her family, friends and the community of Hamlet in pursuit of her goals.  Locklear counted down — “5, 4, 3, 2, 1” — and the square was lit by the tree.

Abernethy led the crowd in an energetic rendition of “We Wish You A Merry Christmas.”

The ceremony was closed with a benediction by Bishop Marvin Taylor of Outreach for Jesus.

Filed in: Featured News, Hamlet, Latest Headlines

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