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December 23, 2010

Double the trees!

What joy! This year I feature not one but two singing Christmas trees!

The first production of the Singing Trees debuted in 1980 at First Baptist Orlando's downtown location, opening with "Do You Hear What I Hear," directed by Ragan Vandegriff. While the first five years featured a single tree, the church moved to its current campus on John Young Parkway in 1985 and they realized that it would be necessary to further expand the production to accommodate the larger stage. "One tree would have appeared "diminuendo," according to Vandegriff.

The task of writing music for two trees began. This often involved having "one tree call and the other one answer," according to Deric Johnson, the music arranger at the time. The two forty-five foot structures each hold about 150 choir members. The 15-tier trees are designed and structurally engineered by Walt Keller. "You can put a Mack truck on each tree and it would withstand the weight," Keller explained. And that's about what each tree holds. Considering the average American weight, both trees combined contain almost 50,000 pounds of these live, vocalized ornaments.

Posted by acapnews at December 23, 2010 10:47 PM


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