Holiday high notes
The Russell Girls’ Choir performed a number of Christmas tunes during the second annual Russell tree lighting ceremony at Russell Public School on Sun., Dec. 3.   Sawyer Helmer photos

Kalynn Sawyer Helmer
Villager Staff
RUSSELL – The Police Village of Russell lit up the tree for the second year on Sun., Dec. 3. The tree, owned by John Cornvinelli and rooted beside Russell Public School, had the lights adorned for the first time last year. Russell Councillor Cindy Saucier explained the lighting ceremony was the brainchild of Police Village Chair Greg Rokosh, as a way to bring the community together during the holiday season. The Trust, which was formulated after the sale of Hydro, is used for a number of such events to liven the community.

Christmas tree magic
Russell community members gathered together on Sun., Dec. 3, to watch the lighting of the Christmas tree. Sawyer Helmer photo

“We like to do anything that is of interest and value to the community,” said Rokosh of the Police Village. The group has not confined their efforts to Russell either, having expanded to more of the neighbouring communities. Rokosh was pleased to say so far the Police Village has been able to accommodate every project they have wanted thus far. Having maintained the trust to ensure their prosperity for the future, Rokosh said, “We will be around for a long time [to help the community thrive].”

During the first year, the Russell Men’s Choir performed and this year the Russell Girls’ Choir took to the makeshift stage. At the helm was professional music teacher Heather Huisman. Donations were being collected for the food bank and the new Russell Tim Hortons donated hot chocolate to warm the community spectators.

Emcee for the evening, Stuart Brink thanked all of the many volunteers, sponsors and donors who supported the event and encouraged spectators to keep the community spirit going well into the holiday season. “For every dollar you may or may not save on eBay or Amazon, if you spend that one or two dollars here in your local town at your local businesses, then we invest in our community and invest in our future,” said Brink. “What a great community of love.”

The lights, which were illuminated after a crowd-wide countdown will remain on through the holidays until early January. The roughly 200 spectators cheered and marvelled in awe at the towering Christmas symbol.