"Second Saturday" event to include handbell choir
The bells of Christmas — namely the Lady Belles Handbell Choir from Holton’s First United Methodist Church — will fill the air as part of the Holton/Jackson County Chamber of Commerce’s upcoming “Second Saturday” promotion, set for this coming Saturday, Dec. 13, on Holton’s Town Square and sporting the theme “I’ll Be Home For Christmas.”
Dolores Wright, who directs the handbell choir and the Rainbow Connection youth choir at First UMC, will bring both choirs to the meeting hall at Complete Chiropractic Care Center on the east side of the Square for a performance starting at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. The performance will follow a dinner catered by China Restaurant in Holton, starting at 6:30 p.m. in the meeting hall.
“It sounds like there’s a lot of fun things going on around the Square,” Wright said.
Chamber director Carolyn McKee said a total of 75 tickets will be available at $20 per ticket for the dinner and performance, part of the third “Second Saturday” event. Several businesses around the Square will be open from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. to participate in the event, which McKee said has had a positive response so far.
“The retailers are so happy. They’ve been just shocked at how well it’s gone over,” McKee said. “In the beginning, it was like, ‘We’ll see how it goes, if people are still there at 7.’ But we’ve had a great turnout so far.”
McKee added that one participating business owner was pleased to note that she had enough business to stay open until 8:30 p.m. — an hour and a half after the promotion’s end time — on one of the two previous “Second Saturday” events. Still, she said, the promotion is in its early stages, and participants are still looking at what it will take to keep it a regular event.
“We’re taking it month by month,” she said. “Each month, things are evaluated, and it’s still a learning process right now. This first year, we’ll be learning what works and what doesn’t.”
Concerning the music, Wright, who has been directing and performing music at First UMC for roughly half a century with Bob Brown, said the 11-member handbell choir is a fairly recent addition to the church’s roster of performing groups.
However, the Lady Belles make music not only for those willing to listen, but in memory of those who helped make the group what it is.
“The English handbells we use are memorial bells,” Wright said. “On each bell, there’s an inscription of a family or group in the church or someone who gave us the money to pay for that bell. We have three octaves of those.”
The 18 members of the Rainbow Connection youth choir, spanning second through sixth grades, also perform with a four-octave set of hand chimes, Wright said, but only a few of the hand chimes will be used in Saturday’s performance.
“The children have one number where they’ll be using the chimes,” Wright said, noting the Rainbow Connection’s three songs are being used as a warm-up for their Christmas concert on Sunday morning at First UMC. The Lady Belles will follow with a performance lasting 40 to 45 minutes, she added.
As for the dinner, McKee said China Restaurant proprietor Kirk Liu is “going all out” with a “gigantic” buffet-style dinner that includes cashew chicken, pepper steak, sweet and sour chicken, sesame chicken, chicken with broccoli, black pepper chicken, triple delight with garlic sauce, crab rangoon, egg rolls, fried rice and lo mein. “It’s a great opportunity for a night out,” she said.
And, of course, there will be plenty to look at around the Square, including a display at the Jackson County Museum on the southwest corner of the Square. The display will have a theme of “Changing Christmas Traditions: When The Old Becomes New Again,” it has been reported.
The Gossip, located in the former Bell Graphics building, will host artists Katie Morris, Michael Mize, the Sew Sisters and Totten Art, along with Red Rock Ranch Vintage Jewels and holiday goodies provided by J’s Delightful Desserts.
On the west side of the Square, Penny’s will offer live music and drink specials, Koger Variety will host a Christmas cookie demonstration and J&M Sewing Center will show off its new location.
On the south side of the Square, Heart to Home will offer wine tasting and gourmet food samples. Meanwhile, on the north side of the Square, Start to Finish will hold a winter gift clearance sale and Hotspot will offer stamped metal jewelry by imPress’em of Topeka along with specials on hot chocolate and pumpkin spice frappés.
In addition to the dinner and performance that evening, Complete Chiropractic will offer Silpada Jewelry, Christmas décor and refreshments. Elsewhere on the west side of the Square, expressions, Quilting on the Square and Uptown Treasures also will be offering specials to those who visit. Farmertown Antiques on U.S. Highway 75 will also be open, offering deals on vintage Christmas items.
Advance tickets for the dinner and entertainment are available at all area banks. For more information, call the Chamber office at 364-3963 or visit www.exploreholton.com
The event is sponsored in part by the Jackson County Tourism Council.