Wednesday night we took Ella to her first viewing of the First Baptist Church of Alexandria, VA Living Christmas Tree (LCT). If you don’t know what a living Christmas tree is, here’s a picture.
Imagine choir risers that are in the shape of a tree and covered in greenery and lights. The heads of the choir members are the ornaments. While the choir sings, lights on the tree are synchronized to the music. There is a play that takes place between songs, and a full orchestra accompanies the choir. It’s unlike anything you’ve ever seen. It’s truly…TREE-TACULAR!!!
I sang in the LCT one year. I started singing in choir in 4th grade (shout out to the Casper Children’s Chorale). I have been a member of girls choirs, combined choirs, All-State Choir, Show Choir, Jazz Ensemble, select ensembles, worship team, Church choir, you name it…I’ve pretty much sung in it. But this…this was a whole new experience for me. And I was embarrassed that I was only 27 and was struggling through, while there were people twice my age who didn’t even bat an eye at all the hard work. Each year they do 7 performances…yes, 7 (8 if you count the Wednesday night dress rehearsal). Thursday night, Friday night, Saturday at 2:30, 5:00 and 7:30, and Sunday at 5:00 and 7:30. It’s intense. Don’t tell anyone, but during one of the rehearsals I passed out. I had been working all day and had rushed from the office to LCT practice without having dinner, and it was hot. That’s when I decided that I was too old for this. Ever since then I’ve been a spectator, and every year I love going to the LCT.
I really wanted to take Ella this year. I knew she would love it! She loves singing along to the hymns at church, and she often sings along with the soloist…even though she doesn’t know the words. Add to that the fact that she’s VERY excited about Christmas and Christmas trees, and that she always asks to listen to Christmas tree music, I just knew the LCT was for her. Wednesday night was the dress rehearsal and their Special Friends night, the church invites people from the special-needs community to attend the show. So we thought this would be the best time to take Ella. If she decided to sing along with the tree, most of the people around her wouldn’t be bothered…and they might even join in too.
Ella didn’t sing along. She was so mesmerized by the lights and singing, that she barely even blinked. She sat in my lap the whole time just staring at the tree and lights. After each soloist sang she would say, “Good Singer!” and that was it. She loved it! They always end the LCT with the Hallelujah Chorus, and as is tradition, the audience stands. This was when Ella decided to start singing. She sang along to the whole song and loved every minute of it.
Afterward we went to the Big Yellow M (McDonalds) with some friends and got hot fudge sundaes and Ella got French fries. It was a great family night out. I can’t wait to take Ella again next year. Someday she’ll be singing in the tree!