The rain brought indoors what is usually held at Michael Mauri Park. Had the temperature been a bit lower, the rain would have become snow and the image of the Christmas Holiday Season would have been complete Friday night at the Casano Community Center with snow falling in the background as singers as well as bell carolers rung in the season at the Annual Christmas Holiday Tree Lighting Celebration. Still, 42° evening outside went unnoticed since the combined heat of the Standing Room Only crowd along with the heating food kept the Casano Center as warm as a Christmas Eve living room lit by a fireplace.
Master of Ceremonies Thos Shipley kicked off the Celebration by inviting longtime resident James Vigliotti to sing the National Anthem. The emcee himself then belted out a rousing rendition of the 1963 Christmas classic “It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year”. The evening’s celebration of the season continued with Ava Rose Dressendofer singing “The First Noel”, then the Sherman School 4th & 5th Grade Choir as Ms. Linda J. Green conducted them in their performance of two off-the-beaten-path yet catchy Yuletide songs “A Holiday Ho-Ho-Hoedown” and “Christmas Comes To Town” – the latter from the film “Polar Express”. Thos Shipley introduced Roselle Park resident Tinida Clark who then delivered an intimate rendition of “Silent Night”. The Roselle Park Middle School Handbell Choir literally rang in the season with their performances of “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” and “The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late)”. Thos Shipley took to the stage again to sing “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” and then introduced the Roselle Park High School Concert Choir to close out the festivities with “Carol Of The Bells”, “What Child Is This?” and “O Holy Night”. The crowd then welcomed Santa & Mrs. Claus into the Center with “Here Comes Santa Claus” and Mr. Vigliotti was invited back up to lead the audience in singing “God Bless America”.
Then, for the first time ever, a “live” remote lighting of the Roselle Park Christmas Holiday Tree was conducted when the TV in the Casano Community Center simulcast the main event as the audience countdown reached zero and watched as the tree outside was lit for the season; all in the comfort of the Center.
Afterwards, those in attendance were invited to a Holiday Gala which served a hot & cold appetizer buffet with food donated by Costa’s Ristorante, Sunrise Diner, Valentino’s, Vinhus, and Vintage while children young and old sat for a photograph with Mr. & Mrs. Claus.
The camaraderie and warmth shared by those in attendance made it a Night To Remember.
Videos of the performances can be viewed at Roselle Park News’ YouTube Channel (link).