Villanova Music Activities Performs at Tree Lighting Ceremony


music activities

Reagan Wish Staff Writer

 Last week, Villanova kicked off the holiday season with the annual tree lighting ceremony. Students passed out free mugs and ornaments with a special Villanova Christmas design while hot chocolate and donuts were served in different tents around the Oreo. The surrounding area was lit with green and red, and despite the cold, students were really getting into the Christmas spirit, even Will D. Cat—he looked great in his new Santa suit! The tree lighting ceremony was overseen by University President Father Peter Donohue, O. S. A., Ph. D, who after saying some heartfelt season’s greetings, lit the tree to the Christmas caroling of the Villanova band and the school’s choir groups (Villanova Voices and Villanova Singers).  

The band and choirs joined their talents together to serenade the preceding moments before the tree was lit and immediately after to keep up the holiday spirits. The combined choir stood on the steps of Kennedy Hall, while the band was seated below. After the musicians finished playing their first piece, Father Peter invited the children in the audience to come help him light the tree. Approximately fifteen kids ran up to the podium in the middle of the Riley Ellipse. After the tree was lit,  the musicians continued with their second piece before disbanding and enjoying the festivities themselves. At the direction of Beth Sokolowski, the Director of Music Activities and the Villanova Band, the choir welcomed the start of the Chritmas and holiday season.

“I really enjoyed the Christmas tree lighting,” junior Becca Ilic writes. “It was the second year that Villanova had it around the Oreo and getting so many students involved made it feel exciting and special. Celebrating Christmas is something almost everyone can love, so coming together made it feel like the real start to the holiday season.” 

Around the Riley Ellipse, the University sponsored-events were a hit with the students. Will D. Cat — dressed in his new  Santa suit — took pictures with a few lucky students in front of the inflatable snowglobe, stationed at the front of the Connelly Center. Students lined up with their friends to get their picture taken before wandering off to explore the other  events being offered. A horse-drawn carraige was present to take students around Main Campus. Some students even joked that we should invest in the carraige year-long in place of the on-campus shuttle, as the shuttle is not able to travel through campus with all the construction. Some people lined up for free hot chocolate and others still contented themselves by sitting on the Oreo, watching the light show of red and green lights that danced on the side of the Connelly Center, Kennedy Hall and the Oreo. 

“I love the tree lighting,” junior Kat Shaw rights. “For me, it really sets the Christmas mood on campus, ad it’s such a nice break from the stresses of school. The carraige rides, food, music and lights are what kick off the Christmas season on campus. It’s one of my favorite fall semester ecents to attend.”

The Villanova University Tech Crew, or VUTC for short, provided the lighting and sound for the event, which went off without a hitch. The group played a selection of holiday tunes, from “The Carol of the Bells,” to the Pentatonix Christmas tune “That’s Christmas to Me.”

The event was well-attended by the students and the surrounding area, as families brought their young children to enjoy the festivities. This new tradition highlights the true spirit of the holiday season: coming together to celebrate the things that we are all so lucky to have. Whether we are celebrating our friends, and family or  the small things like the constant availability of John Mulaney stand-up on Netflix, the holiday season is the perfect time to reflect on that and the tree-lighting ceremony is the perfect start to that. The tree-lighting ceremony was a small reminder that—no matter your age—the holiday season is a wonderful time for community and celebration.