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Charlotte Amalie
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HomeNewsArchives'TIS THE SEASON OF CELEBRATING ST. JOHN STYLE

'TIS THE SEASON OF CELEBRATING ST. JOHN STYLE

The holiday season is swinging on St. John, with fairs, festivals, concerts, pageants, parties and more in Cruz Bay, Coral Bay and points in between.
Nazareth Lutheran Church presented its annual food sale and holiday crafts fair Saturday morning, while the V.I. Captain's Association held a fund-raising food sale across the street in Cruz Bay Park that lasted until dark, when the tiny white lights lacing the branches of trees there lent their seasonal glow. Sounds from St. John's latest musical group, the Ah We Band, greeted ferry passengers with a litany of bouncy dance tunes.
Meanwhile more majestic sounds filled the skies over Coral Bay as St. Johnians filled the seats at Emmaus Moravian Church for the first religious pageant of the season, produced by Elva Kitson with musical accompaniment by Elroy Sprauve. The pageant, an event many look forward to every year, featured traditional, contemporary and cultural favorites sung as solos, duets, quartets and choral works by adults' and children's choirs.
This week, St. John's children will continue keeping the holiday mood bright. On Tuesday, Dec. 14, at 7 p.m., the Methodist Youth Connection at the St. John Methodist Church presents a mini-concert and food sale.
Guy Benjamin Elementary School is having its annual Christmas pageant on Thursday, Dec. 16, at 10 a.m. This event has long been a favorite among adults in the community, who fill the stands at the school basketball court to watch everyone at the school get into the act. This year's pageant organizers said they chose the early date and time to encourage the greatest participation from student performers. Principal Gwenaviere Hyndman and the Benjamin teachers usually present a humorous skit of their own at the end of the holiday program.
On Thursday, Dec. 16, at 7 p.m., the Emmaus Moravian Church Choir will present a Christmas concert in Cruz Bay Park.
Also on Thursday, Dec. 16, at 7:30 p.m., the St. John Singers' annual Cruz Bay Christmas concert will be held at Nazareth Lutheran Church. Sacred and traditional music of the season is this group's forte. Nancy Ruffer, a professional flutist who lives in London but often visits her parents on St. John for the holidays, will appear as guest artist with the group, as she has several times before. St. Thomas musician and teacher Albert Lynch will be guest accompanist on organ and piano, and Glenn "Kwabena" Davis will appear in a segment featuring his arrangements of well-known Virgin Islands carols. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children; they're available from choir members and at the door.
On Friday, Dec. 17, the St. John Methodist Church Sunday School presents its candlelight Christmas program, starting at 7 p.m.
Also on Friday, Dec. 17, at 5 p.m., the Friends of the Elaine Sprauve Library invite the public to an open house at the library where St. John photographer Constance Wallace will display her pictures of Caribbean men's fashions as worn by fashionable St. John men. Light refreshments will be served.
And also on Friday, Dec. 17, at 7 p.m., the Gospel Tones will present a concert in Cruz Bay Park.
Saturday, Dec. 18, is St. John Saturday, so there will be street events going on all day throughout Cruz Bay. Closing out the celebrations, the Love City Pan Dragons and Baby Pan Dragons steelbands will perform on the lawn of The Battery at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $5 in advance and $7 that night. They're available at Our Market/Hospitality Car Rental and Courtesy Car Rental and from Samuel Lawrence and Elaine Penn.
Also on Saturday, Dec. 18, at 4 p.m., the John's Folly Learning Institute, located on Route 107 a quarter mile south of Salt Pond, will hold its children's Christmas party.
One of the newer traditions in Cruz Bay is the eagerly anticipated Mongoose Junction Adults Christmas Party. Smalls and the Boys are scheduled to crank up the quelbe to set the holiday mood for this one, on Saturday, Dec. 18, beginning at 9 p.m. Restaurants at the dramatic shopping center will set out sampling tables and dress is "island fancy." Everyone is invited to the ambience of Mongoose's many stone terraces and plaza to meet old friends, make some new ones and share the holiday spirit. Members of the St. John Community Foundation are planning a special presentation at the Mongoose Junction fete, with a table laid with homemade Virgin Islands candies prepared with the help of students at the Julius Sprauve School.
The Governor's Children's Christmas Party is scheduled for Monday, Dec. 20, from 5:30 to 8 p.m. in Cruz Bay Park. For many adults, just sitting on a park bench and watching hordes of children romping through is enough to generate fond memories of Christmases past. Jointly sponsored by Government House and local businesses, the party will have candies, food and other holiday treats for kids on the house.
On Monday, Dec. 20, at 7:30 p.m., the St. John Singers will present its annual Coral Bay Christmas concert, at Emmaus Moravian Church. The program is the same that is scheduled for the group's Dec. 16 concert in Cruz. Again, tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children and are available from choir members and at the door.
The action shifts back to Coral Bay on Tuesday, Dec. 21, at 7 p.m. by the community Christmas tree at the Guy Benjamin school basketball court for the annual Coral Bay serenades. At this fun event, even the rustiest of pipes are tuned up with several rounds of Christmas carols sung by families and neighbors from the communities making up the eastern end of the island.
In Cruz Bay, on Wednesday, Dec. 22, at 7:30 p.m., the Pentecostal Choir and the St. Thomas All-Stars Steel Band will perform at Cruz Bay Park.
On Thursday, Dec. 23, at 11 a.m. is the holiday senior citizens luncheon at the St. Ursula's Multipurpose Center. The meal is always wonderful, the seniors dress to the nines, and now and then groups of visiting seniors dressed in holiday red and white stop by to serenade the rest with Christmas favorites.
On Christmas Eve, Friday, Dec. 24, Caneel Bay will host its Christmas party at the resort; the Calvary Baptist Church Choir will sing at 7 p.m. from the Cruz Bay Park bandstand, and Caneel's Santa Claus will greet children in the park at 9 p.m., after which there will be music in the bandstand by Cool Sessions Brass, presented by the V.I. Captains Association.
For Christmas Day, Saturday, Dec. 25, Emmaus Moravian Church in Coral Bay presents its annual Christmas pageant at 7 p.m.
Two other popular St. John holiday events, the fireman's fete and the children's party at the Robert O'Connor Sr. Fire Station in Cruz Bay, aren't going to happen this year, for that familiar reason: lack of funds. The fete isn't held every year, but in the years when it is, the firefighters cordon off a portion of the road passing by the station and lay out long tables of treats with chilled sodas and beer. A deejay keeps the crowd hopping with Christmas music swinging soca style, and the fun lasts into the night. Brian Chapman, deputy fire chief, says the firefighters were ready to host both events, but "we got a late start with Hurricane Lenny and all," and response to an admittedly last-minute appeal for community support "wasn't enough to do it."
Editor's note: Additional Christmas event listings will be added as they are received. Information should be faxed to 776-4812 or e-mailed to jetsinger@viaccess.net.

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