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Civic & Community Corner: NFMHS Chorus leads Civic holiday caroling

December 21, 2016
By Mike Land , North Fort Myers Neighbor

"God will provide" is a phrase I often hopefully utter when I've been disappointed and things are looking bleak. More than three years ago, when the Recreation Center opened, the NFM Civic Association arranged for the planting of a Community Christmas Tree in front of the entrance to the building which we would decorate each holiday season. Fast forward to the present and the sapling holly tree has grown to a height of 10 feet and filled out enough to support a beautiful decorating consisting of the usual lights and an outer veneer of silver and gold consisting of balls, baubles and beads skillfully applied by Rudy Berndlmaier, Maryanne Howard and Jeannette Rusiniak.

The original plan which we have stuck to, was to follow the tree decorating with a ceremonial tree lighting and a one-hour session of Christmas Caroling. In the first year we were led by members of the Herons Glen Chorus and in the next two years by the Rev. Graham Milligan, his wife Jaine and tenor Don DeWitt. This year we initially scheduled these back-to-back events for Dec. 16, but when our entertainment had to cancel two weeks before the events, we fell back on an unexciting pre-recoded keyboard background and changed the date to Dec. 9. And then I contacted the leader of the North Fort Myers High School Chorus, Mrs. Gwen Gregg and learned that they were only available on Dec. 14 and so, when the heavens opened, we jumped at the chance to land such a large and respected choral group, and changed the date for a third time.

And so we commenced the events of Dec. 14th at 5:30 p.m. as it got dark and as many in the audience joined hands and circled around the tree, the Chorus sang "Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree", which they had learned especially for this gig. The chorus, some 25 strong clad in red shirts with all the girls wearing red antlers and the boys wearing red Santa hats, then sang Christmas Carols for an hour with an audience of about 50 singing along. The songs ranged from "Frosty The Snowman" to "Silent Night" and everyone left with a warm feeling of "peace on earth, good will towards Man.".

From there the group moved to Bianca's Restaurant, N. Cleveland Ave. just north of Littleton, where we held our monthly meeting combined with a Holiday Dinner Social.

Look for the North Fort Myers Farmer's Market, sponsored by the NFM Civic Association, which is moving to Saturday mornings at The Shell Factory starting Jan. 7, to exist alongside the Flea Market which has held that spot for years. Come get your farm-to- market fresh fruit, veggies, breads, seafood and food-related items, and pay no sales tax! And farmers and vendors, if you want to try it for 10 bucks a day, no contracts, just contact me.

The Association is looking for a fundraiser to raise about $1,000. If any of my readers have a good idea, please contact me- (see my contact info at the end of this article).


Contact me at 239-823-3631 or if you have some event, project or idea that you would like in this column, or with any comments or questions. Visit



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