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The Lansing Historical Society’s annual Festival of Lights returns for the holiday season

LANSING, Ill. (December 1, 2023) – The Lansing Historical Society celebrated the grand opening of its annual Festival of Lights at the Lansing Public Library on Monday, November 27 from 6 – 7:30 p.m.

The free event featured holiday musical selections from TF North and TF South choirs and the first tour of the holiday season for the Christmas Trees Around the World exhibit located in the museum in the lower level of the library.

Holiday music program

TF South choir singing “Lully, Lulla, Lullay” under the direction of William Spakowski. (Photo: Kinise Jordan)

The evening began with attendees reciting the pledge of allegiance.

The TF North choir then graced the stage to sing British composer Philip Stopford’s version of “Lully, Lulla, Lullay” under the direction of William Spakowski.

The original version of this carol has been traced back to the 16 century. The song tells the story of the massacre that took place when King Herod attempted to have Jesus killed by ordering all male infants under the age of 2 to be killed.

According to Spakowski, the song is based on the perspective of the targeted children’s mothers.

TF South sang two selections while choir director Julie Kersaan-Potsic played the keyboard. (Photo: Kinise Jordan)

The TF South choir sang two selections: “The World for Christmas,” composed by Anders Edenroth, and “This Little Babe,” by Benjamin Britten, under the direction of Julie Kersaan-Potsic.

The program ended with both choirs coming together on stage to sing traditional Christmas carols.

The audience was invited to sing along as the choirs sang “Silent Night,” “Deck the Halls,” “Joy to the World,” Feliz Navidad,” “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” and “Rudolph the Red- Nosed Reindeer.”

Christmas trees around the world

After the musical program, the audience was invited downstairs to the library’s museum room to tour the display of over 35 Christmas trees representing 30 countries as well as Lansing organizations including Friends of the Library, Lansing Garden Club, and Lansing Association of Community Events (L.A.C.E).

The Lansing organizations section in the Christmas Around the World exhibit. (Photo: Kinise Jordan)

Mexico, Germany, India, Poland, and Africa are some of the many countries in the Christmas Around the World display.

The exhibit also featured traditional costumes, creches, recipes, and text explaining the Christmas origins, customs, and traditions of each country.

The society added more recipes and historical text to this year’s displays. “You can learn a lot [from attending this exhibit],” said Barbara Dust, Museum Curator at the Lansing Historical Society.

Christmas tree and historical text for Germany. It is said that the Christmas tree originated in Germany. (Photo: Kinise Jordan)

Celebrating the holidays together

The Lansing Historical Society has been organizing this display at the Lansing Public Library since 1986, said organizers.

“It started with nine trees, and as Lansing’s diverse community grew so did the number of trees,” said Dust.

Many Lansing residents and members of the Lansing Historical Society volunteer each year to help set up trees representing their cultural heritage.

“Certain people take so much pride and so much effort into making their tree so special,” said Dust.

“We are thrilled [to] show off Lansing’s diversity and the unity of celebrating this festive season,” she continued.

Dust said the society plans to continue to grow the display and add more countries over time.

The exhibit will be open Monday – Friday from 6 – 8 p.m. and on Saturdays from 12 – 3 p.m.  It will be closed on Sundays and December 23, 24, 25, 30, and 31, and January 1.

The Festival of Lights will run through January 6, 2024.

A street sign displaying the corner of the North Pole and Lansing in the museum. (Photo: Kinise Jordan)

The Lansing Historical Society’s museum is located on the lower level of the Lansing Public Library, located at 2750 Indiana Avenue.

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Kinise Jordan
Kinise Jordan
Kinise Jordan brings local experience and a long list of journalism skills to her work with The Lansing Journal. She understands the need for reliable, factual information in equipping people to build community. An Audio News internship with WBEZ honed her interviewing skills and her sense of timing and deadlines. A native of Calumet City, Kinise is familiar with the interplay of local government, local schools, and local businesses.