On Saturday, I was in a store that specializes in wrought iron items, wistfully studying the trellises and other garden decorations, when I came across a selection of wine bottle trees. None of them, though, come close to the wine bottle Christmas tree that I spent a lot of 2012 Yule Log time wishing to find.
Searching for my elusive metal wine bottle tree online, I stumbled across a much greater curiosity, a human Christmas tree. Since the 1930’s these “trees” are actually a choir of individuals creating a spectacle of sight and sound.
The Portland Singing Christmas Tree celebrated its 50th anniversary last year. Their website advertises almost as many performances as the Rockettes, averaging $50 for a ticket. Community members must audition to perform, and the 2-hour show features guest singers, an orchestra and more. Their non-profit organization has major corporate sponsors. It’s an amazing organization with its orgins in a local church in 1962.
The distinction of the oldest outdoor human tree goes to Belhaven University in Mississippi which first performed 80 years ago, but Mona Shores High School seems to be the “darling” of human Christmas Trees, having been featured on the Travel Channel and TLC’s Extreme Christmas as the tallest human tree. This time-lapsed video shows how it’s put together–that’s really cool!
Once, when my children were little, their grandfather took them to see the human Christmas tree at Arlington Baptist Church in Woodlawn on the outskirts of Baltimore. I remember it seemed quite spectacular, and the children were mesmerized. I wonder now, by comparison, how spectacular it was? I found an advertisement from 1995 (which seems about the right time). The press release detailed a “33-foot-tall singing Christmas tree with 70 singers and 30 actors in five performances. The singers are arranged on a tree-shaped wooden structure fashioned with lights and pine branches.” I remember that the poinsettias arranged between the choir members were particularly beautiful.
No more recent performances in this area, though. Jeremy? Is this a more worthy project than our Bay Bridge Santa Walk? Let me know–It’s already the end of February, so we need to get started soon!