The tunes of Christmas tradition and holiday memories will fill the Texas Theater for the ninth year this week as Palestine's annual Christmas Carol Sing-along is set to take place at 7 p.m. Thursday in its downtown locale at 213 W. Crawford St.
The free event allows all members of the community the chance to come together to sing Christmas carols, share memories and celebrate the spirit of the season.
Anywhere from 30 to over 100 people are often found participating at the event, which includes song leaders and musicians. Organizers have made it a goal to sing most if not all the verses of the carols, which includes favorites like “O Holy Night,” “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” and “Jingle Bells.”
“David Watts organizes the musicians and lead singers,” event founder and Palestine native Timothy Triplett said. “A wireless microphone also is passed around in the audience, allowing everyone the chance to be projected.
“Beth Ingram will be playing piano and other instrumentalists will be participating too.”
While some groups spend months practicing for Christmas productions, Triplett enjoys the spontaneity of the sing-along.
“You just show up and sing,” he said. “There is no practice involved, but it is still a beautiful event.”
This year's event include the added opportunity to show some Christmas generosity as the local Blankets & Bears organization will be accepting donations of blankets and stuffed animals.
“They approached us about it and we felt it was a wonderful opportunity for the people to give something practical that benefits a child in a crisis situation,” Triplett said. “We aren't requiring attendees to donate in order to attend the sing-along, but are giving them the opportunity to do so.”
The Palestine Community Theatre donates the use of the Texas Theater for the event and has left its set up from its recent holiday production of “Christmas Gifts” to add to the Christmas atmosphere. Song lyrics are projected onto a screen onstage.
The event was founded by Triplett and his wife, Elaine, who noticed an absence of traditional Christmas carols when attending Christmas-related performances.
“It was sad to me because Christmas carols were such an important part of my life and in the lives of those who grew up with me,” Timothy Triplett said. “The carols themselves are more than just celebrating – the words are powerful. They speak to the real reason for the season — Jesus' birth, sacrifice and our salvation.”
Now, nine years later, the event has taken on a life of its own — in a good way.
“I feel so blessed to be able to do this for the community,” he added. “It is neat the way God has provided everything needed to do this. With such a little effort we have seen some big results.
“It has become such a joyful event.”
Doors open for the event at 6:30 p.m. Thursday. Beverages will be available.
Mary Rainwater may be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org