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Christmas tree lights up La Verne

Erin Friedeman, who works at the La Verne City Hall, and her daughter Margaret watch the Bonita High School choir perform at City Hall on Monday at the city of La Verne’s annual tree lighting ceremony. Margaret, a Roynon Elementary School second-grader, was chosen to light the tree at the ceremony. / photo by Celine Dehban

Erin Friedeman, who works at the La Verne City Hall, and her daughter Margaret watch the Bonita High School choir perform at City Hall on Monday at the city of La Verne’s annual tree lighting ceremony. Margaret, a Roynon Elementary School second-grader, was chosen to light the tree at the ceremony. / photo by Celine Dehban

Kellie Galentine
Staff Writer

A silver star shone brightly in the sky as the Christmas tree outside city hall was lit, kicking off the holiday season for the La Verne community with the annual Tree Lighting Ceremony along with a visit from a very special guest.

Second grader Margaret Friedeman from Roynon Elementary School pressed the button after the audience counted down from 10, igniting yellow, blue, green and red lights to shine brightly in the tree.

The annual ceremony was hosted by La Verne Mayor Don Kendrick and had members of La Verne and surrounding cities gathered to enjoy one of the first events of holiday season.

The Bonita High School Chamber Singers performed just after the tree was lit, caroling holiday favorites like “Deck the Halls.”

“This is a perfect way to showcase their talent and put you in the mood for the upcoming holiday,” Shannon Pinkus, San Dimas resident and mother of a Bonita Chamber Singers member, said.

The choir finished off its musical set with a rendition of “Jingle Bells,” which required audience participation filling the air with holiday cheer.

This was choir director Todd Helm’s 30th tree lighting ceremony. He also announced that if the audience sang loud enough a special guest would arrive.

After the audience sang along with “Jingle Bells,” Santa Claus came around the corner ready to greet the children and sit in his chair for photos.

“I think that it is good for people to have stuff like this when things are not going well in the economy, just to put smiles on little kids’ faces,” Taryn Maldonado, West Covina resident, said.

Mickey Rehm, chamber of commerce board president, also made a few remarks before the lighting of the tree, encouraging everyone to do their holiday shopping in La Verne to help support local businesses and keep revenues within the city.

After the tree was lit and the festivities were going, it was back to business for the city council as they hurried inside for their meeting.

The rest of the community enjoyed photos with Santa, and the choir singers lingered about as they waited for parents to pick them up.

“I hope to be here next year to support the community, it is such an active community we care about our veterans our residents,” Dennis Navarre, La Verne a resident of 35 years, said. “Plus, I am here with Santa.”

Kellie Galentine can be reached at kellie.galentine@laverne.edu.

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