40th Annual Singing Christmas tree underway in Sarasota

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The singing Christmas tree is 30 feet tall, has over 10,000 lights, 12 levels and holds 115 choir members. It has been a downtown Sarasota tradition for over 40 years hosted by First Sarasota Baptist Church.

“It is glorious. Absolutely glorious,” said Betty Yackels. She has attended the Singing Christmas tree for the last five years and doesn’t miss a chance to tell her friends about the music event.

“They say what do you mean a singing Christmas tree? And I say they shape a Christmas tree and everybody has a little spot on the Christmas tree and then the lights come on and they change colors. It is absolutely wonderful.”

Brenda Walwik came with her friend for the first time last year.

“I was very impressed and liked it a lot and when she asked me about coming again I said absolutely.”

On Sunday, Walwik and her friend had seats right in the middle of the auditorium so they would have the best view of the stage. Over the years, the Christmas tree shaped stage has evolved four times.

“It started out a wooden structure. Everybody got to sit in the tree. The tree now is a metal structure and everyone is required to stand,” explained First Sarasota Music Director Shawn Gross. He told ABC 7, each year the performance is a little different than the year before.

“It is a little bit different approach this year a lot more musical aspects of the program, a lot less drama.”

But every year, the singing Christmas tree has plenty of repeat customers like Yackels and Walwik.

Tickets cost $15 and can be purchased on line at www.firstsarasota.org, by phone at 1-888-684-5272 or in person at the church office at 1670 Main Street.