Laceyville Community Christmas Delights Audience
By David Keeler
Laceyville’s Braintrim Baptist Church Fellowship Hall was filled to near capacity last Saturday evening when some of the area’s most gifted performers shared their talents and helped kick off the Christmas season.
“I was nervous when I saw all the cars outside,” Laceyville Postmaster Bill Clark, who served as the evening’s MC, said when welcoming everyone. Clark said he was concerned that there might not be enough room for everyone but that proved not to be the case. “Must be a lot of you came by yourself,” he joked.
The bi-annual event is organized by the Laceyville Business Association and proceeds go to fund community projects. “All of the money stays right here in Laceyville,” Clark said. “There aren’t many towns left like Laceyville,” Clark continued, “and I’m thrilled to be a part of it.”
Along with music and skits, the evening included a silent auction, refreshments and a traditional auction conducted by auctioneer Jerry Burke and his wife, Gail, who donated their services. The auctions raised hundreds of dollars for the community.
Dianne Bennett began the evening’s entertainment by reading a Christmas poem she wrote entitled “A Visit from Heaven,” which was one of three original Christmas poems Dianne would present during the evening.
Laceyville singer-songwriter Ronnie Schoonover played the guitar and sang a Christmas song entitled “Teddy the Christmas Spirit,” which he said was penned by his co-writer and friend of 32 years, Eileen Pruyne, of Athens, who passed away two years ago.
Next, nine-year-old Aurora Baker delighted the audience with the first of three Christmas songs she would sing a cappella over the course of the evening.
Baker was followed by Jennifer Stevens on cello and Dorothy Weir on piano who teamed up on an instrumental version of “What Child Is This.”
Dustin Latini concluded the entertainment prior to intermission with his performance of “O Holy Night.”
And just to keep things moving along and the laughs rolling, local hairdresser Jeanne DeRemer recreated her zany, barefoot, free-spirited little girl character “Suzie” who’s been getting laughs and creating all sorts of trouble since the first Community Christmas show back in 2005. She sparred verbally with Clark and sang her own fractured version of “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town.”
“She’s the real reason why this show can only happen every other year,” Clark said. “The feds are outside right now waiting to take her away.”
Following intermission there were solos by Gary Ward, “Grandma Got Runover by a Reindeer;” Brian Bennett, “Christmas Cookies;” Kyleigh Ward, “A Baby Changes Everything” and Aurora Baker, who said she was singing “Deck the Halls” because her grandmother (Amy Huffman) likes the way she sings it. Aileen Learn recited a wonderful yarn about creating the perfect Christmas Dinner and then read the real story of Christmas from the Bible’s Book of Matthew.
As has become the custom at these events, the program closed with the lights dimmed, each member of the audience passing a flame from candle to candle and then joining to sing “Silent Night.” A closing prayer was presented by Pastor David Faulkner of the Braintrim Baptist Church.