The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, December 15, 1997, Page 12, Image 12

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Nelson presides over lighting
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By Kelli Lacey
Staff Reporter
A 30-foot tree, 219 colored bulbs,
93 bows and Gov. Ben Nelson made
up the celebration.
The 50th Nebraska State
Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony
took place Sunday in the rotunda of
the Nebraska Capitol.
The ceremony was presented by
Lincoln’s Pinewood Bowl, KFOR
AM (1240) and the Lincoln Jaycees.
The ceremony included music,
which was broadcast live on KFOR,
from the Holy Trinity Adult Hand
Bell Choir, the Accent Brass Quintet
and the Lincoln All-City Girls Choir,
who sang, “It’s the Most Wonderful
Time of the Year.”
The music resonated throughout
the high stone ceilings of the rotunda,
and was so loud that the 200 people
there could hardly talk to each other.
Whether the public came because
of friends in the brass, children in the
choir or just to participate in the
Christmas season, the lighting cere
mony drew a full house Sunday after
Barbara Rixstine and Jim
Danielson, both of Lincoln, came to
watch their friend play in the Accent
Brass Quintet. They said they also
came to show their spirit for the
Christmas season.
After the music, Nelson, dressed
in his usual black suit, gave a holiday
message on the appreciation of
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then in charge of lighting the
, Christmas tree.
Finally, the ceremony ended with
an all-audience sing-along, including
favorites such as “Jingle Bells,” “The
First Noel” and “Joy to the World.”
Nelson comes to light the tree not
only because it is the governor’s duty,
he said, but because the “tree cele
brates the spirit of the season.” Each
of the tree’s 93 bows represents one
of Nebraska’s counties.
“I think it’s appropriate that in
this tree-planters’ state, our holiday
celebration is centered around trees.
After the devastating impact of the
October storm, it is especially mean
ingful this year because we recognize
the days ahead in which tree planting
will become important,” Nelson said.
The tree is donated every year by
a Lincoln resident. This year, Lorin
Krantz, a north Lincoln resident,
donated the Douglas Fir. The retired
state employee planted the tree in his
backyard 18 years ago. Because of its
30-foot height, the tree had outgrown
its space in the yard and had to go.
This year’s tree was the largest ever.
“The generosity that Lorin
Krantz has given to all of us by
donating this tree represents a perfect
example for all of us this holiday sea
son,” Nelson said. “So, I encourage
all Nebraskans to do something to
brighten someone else’s holiday this
year as this tree brightens our holi
This year, the ceremony was spe
cial because of its golden anniver
sary. Fifty years ago, at the first light
ing, a huge snowstorm hit Lincoln,
preventing the lighting from taking
place outside. Since then, the cere
mony was moved into the rotunda of
the Capitol.
The tree will be up through New
Year’s Day and is available to view
during the Capitol’s regular building
hours. Roxanne Smith, Capitol tour
supervisor, urges the public to come
and view the tree in the evenings
because the sunset shines in through
the windows.
After the New Year, the tree will
be recycled into wood chips which
could possibly be spread around the
Capitol plant beds.
Nelson plans to spend the holi
days at home and is thankful that all
of his children will be able to make it
home for Christmas.
“So, I say happy holidays from
my family to yours, and best wishes
for a new year of progress and pros
perity for all Nebraska.”
quintet, plays to a full crowd during
the 50th annual Nebraska State
Christmas Ttee Lighting and Carol
Holy Trinity Adult Hand Bell Choir
during the Christmas tree lighting
ceremony at the Capitol.
TOP: (from left to right) SUSAN AND
MIKE NAGLE of Lincoln sing carols
during the Christmas tree lighting
ceremony at the Capitol while their
son Michael, 2%, sleeps.
LEFT: CONNIE HECKMAN reads in one of the halls of
the State Capitol while listening to the music echo
ing from the Christmas tree lighting ceremony.
Heckman said she was studying for a literature final.
Photos by
Ryan Soderlin