Photo: The tree outside Gadsden’s City Hall is lit with brightly colored lights. (Emma Kirkemier/Messenger)
By Emma Kirkemier, News Editor
Local officials and citizens of Gadsden gathered last Friday, December 2, to light the massive Christmas tree outside of City Hall.
The event began with a selection of Christmas carols and hymns being played by an ensemble of local low brass musicians. The phenomenon known as Tuba Christmas was established by tuba player and music professor Harvey Phillips in New York 1974 in an effort to bring more interest to the tuba as a versatile solo instrument. It has spread and is now celebrated in cities nationwide, including Gadsden.
Southside High School Band Director Matt Weaver conducted the group, which was comprised of band students from several local high schools, professional musicians and amateurs of all ages. They treated the crowd to Christmas classics like “Joy to the World,” “The First Noel,” “Star of Wonder” and “Silent Night.” Weaver then invited children in the crowd to come forward to add a vocal accompaniment to “Jingle Bells.”
After the concert, City of Gadsden Mayor Craig Ford came forward to announce the lighting of the city’s holiday tree, a large evergreen overlooking the Coosa River from next to City Hall.
He counted down from five — with help of 6-year-old John Jones Elementary student Eliza Smith, who is the granddaughter of Gadsden Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Director Ruth Moffatt — and the surrounding trees were lit with colorful lights.
The tree-lighting ceremony was immediately followed by a Christmas boat parade floating down the Coosa.
Rainbow City held its own tree lighting on Tuesday, December 6, featuring gospel quartet Gold City and the Joyful Juniors children’s choir. The choir opened the ceremony with fun songs like “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” and “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” before yielding the spotlight to Gold City, who performed a few traditional hymns and Christmas carols.
The event hosted several food trucks and offered pictures with Santa inside City Hall.
Southside and Etowah County held their respective tree lightings on November 28. The City of Attalla will hold a tree lighting and parade at 5:30 p.m. on December 8.