Rector Celebrates the Holiday in Style
The threat of a winter storm may have led to the cancellation of Thursday's Christmas Parade in Rector, but a crowd of over 200 gathered at the Rector Community Center to honor the holiday tradition with fellowship and a program of Christmas music.
Mayor David Freeman welcomed those attending and introduced grand marshal Elvis Cornelison. Though there was no parade for him to lead, the crowd applauded Cornelison for receiving the honor, acknowledging his nearly 50 years of business at Elvis' Philips 66 and his many years of community support.
"I love Rector and the people here have been good friends to me," Cornelison said. "The good Lord has blessed me with a wonderful life here for me and my family. I'm a lucky man."
Young children were also treated to a special visit with Santa Claus, who returned to Rector at the urging of his good friend David Simmons. Santa spoke with each of his young visitors, hearing Christmas wishes and encouraging each child to be on their very best behavior throughout the year.
The crowd enjoyed treats of cookies and hot cocoa while talented performers from Rector schools entertained them with holiday music.
The first group to perform was the Rector Faculty Choir consisting of Sherry Cate, Jade Simpson, Sara Rabjohn, Amber Bucy, Kathy Fowler, Karen Cagle, Melinda and Daniel Van Aalsburg and Heidi and Nate Henderson. This marked the second year for the choir's participation.
The next performers stole the hearts of many in attendance. Second and third grade students of Rector Elementary sang "snow day" versions of popular Christmas carols, adding several amusing changes to the lyrics in time with choreographed gestures as led by music teacher Melinda Van Aalsburg. The performance received a strong ovation from the crowd.
The final performance of the night saw band director Daniel Van Aalsburg lead the Marching Cougars in an instrumental performance of favorite carols. At the director's behest, many audience members joined in by singing along with the music provided by the talented young band members.
Even under threat of unfavorable weather conditions, the holiday spirit triumphed as many in the community gathered to enjoy an evening together.