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Belhaven University's 79th Annual Singing Christmas Tree

November 3, 2011 (Jackson) - The Belhaven Singing Christmas Tree will celebrate its 79th performance this year, making it the world’s oldest outdoor singing Christmas tree.

Belhaven’s Singing Christmas Tree, which began in 1933, was named one of the top 20 events in the Southeast by the Southeast Tourism Society, and it continually draws in thousands of people each year.

Two performances on December 2nd and 3rd will take place at the Belhaven Soccer Bowl at 7:30 P.M. This family-friendly event is free to the public, and attendees are encouraged to bring blankets and chairs to sit on. Call 601-974-6494 for more information.

Dr. Christopher Shelt, Professor of Voice, Church Music & Choral Activities said, “The Belhaven Concert Choir, Belhaven Chorale, faculty, and staff are all part of our annual concert of Christmas music. Come and celebrate the birth of Jesus while enjoying the dazzling lights, and the beautiful music of Christmas!”

The annual event was an idea by music professor, Mignonne Caldwell, who wanted to share the concert with others in the community. Caldwell moved the concert outside between Preston and Fitzhugh Halls, then she recruited college engineer, Mr. C. V. McLain to construct the first wooden tree frame for the choir to stand on. After the success of the first performance, the Belhaven Singing Christmas Tree became a yearly tradition.

Ms. Bettye Quinn, 
Associate Professor of Education and Director of Elementary Education, remembers seeing the Singing Christmas tree for the first time. Quinn said, “I remember when I was three in 1937 and a family friend brought me to see the Belhaven singing Christmas tree for the first time. At the time the tree was a group of 50 girls on a platform between the columns, they had on white robes and held bright lights that reflected into the lagoon. It was just a glorious sight for a little child to see. I have come every year since to see the Singing Christmas Tree.”

As of today, a new 35-foot tall wood and metal tree structure holds up to 100 men and women singers. Performers wear white robes with reflective collars and tiaras to heighten the visual impact of the tree. Singers also hold large strands of lights, which change colors in various patterns and sequences according to the character of each Christmas carol, creating a visual spectacle for the listeners.

Watch part of the 2010 performance of the Belhaven Singing Christmas Tree for just a small preview of this beautiful performance.

Belhaven proudly stands among the select Christian colleges and universities that offer a unique general core curriculum encouraging the development of a personal worldview. The university believes a Christian worldview is a key to preparing men and women academically and spiritually to serve Christ Jesus in their careers, in human relationships, and in the world of ideas.

Founded in 1883, Belhaven University now serves over 3,000 students from campuses in Jackson, Memphis, Orlando, Houston, Chattanooga, Atlanta and online, offering traditional undergraduate degrees, graduate and adult degree programs, and online degree programs.

For more breaking news, announcements, and upcoming events, visit the Belhaven University News and Information web site.