ORANGE, NJ — The previous day’s snowy conditions didn’t deter Orange from welcoming the Christmas holiday by kicking off its annual tree-lighting ceremony on Tuesday, Dec. 3. Residents were eager to get into the holiday spirit at the Orange Public Library with an event that included the Orange High School Christmas band and cheerleaders, the Heywood Avenue Drumline and a performance from Shanai Henderson of Soul Xpressiion School of the Arts in Orange.
Orange Mayor Dwayne D. Warren said it’s always a pleasure to share this season with the families.
“The city of Orange Township opened the holiday season with a tree-lighting event on the lawn of the historic public library,” Warren said in a quote sent to the Record-Transcript on Friday, Dec. 6. “It was a festive event, with tunes from the high school marching band, drumline and carolers. The youth dance ensembles added an extra delight to the residents and attendees. It is always a pleasure to share this season with the families and friends from the city.”
With performers dressed in hats, gloves and heavy coats, the event began with a performance by the Christmas band engaging attendees, uplifting the audience of Orange residents with the Christmas spirit. Residents were treated to free hot chocolate and doughnuts during the blustery evening hours.
As the holiday tree-lighting event gained momentum, the mayor addressed the crowd who braved the cold winter night to help get the township into the Christmas spirit. Warren said he was gratified that so many residents came out.
“Merry Christmas to everyone,” the mayor said to the crowd during the event on Tuesday, Dec. 3. “I know it’s cold. We came out and watched our community come together and dance and celebrate with us. I am gratified that everyone is here. I want to wish each and every one of you a happy holiday. I want to thank all of the Orange employees. Orange Community Service is here, the Fire Department is here, the Police Department of Orange is here and the unsung heroes, the Department of Public Works, are also here. Thank you, in big part, to the Board of Education. … Thank you to all the students, the administration and staff at the Orange Board of Education.”
“Finally,” the mayor added, “government does not work unless there are two parties working with it. I’d like to thank the representative from the Orange Municipal Council, Chris Jackson.”
After Warren addressed the crowd, five carolers took center stage and dazzled with their powerful voices, sharing one microphone to sing “O Come All Ye Faithful.” Then Soul Xpressiion School of the Arts, a nonprofit arts organization showcased its students’ talents. Performing a ballet to a Christmas medley with five girls of various ages, was Henderson, the school’s founder, artistic director and dance instructor.
After the performance, Santa Claus arrived and Mayor Warren had residents help him count down, shouting “three, two, one” before the entire area was lit up and festive music played.
Photos Courtesy of Keith Royster