First Posted: 11/28/2009
For nearly two decades Candlelight Christmas in Rockford has brought people to downtown historic Rockford to celebrate the start of the Christmas season.
This years programs will be held on Thursday, Dec. 3 and Friday, Dec. 4, both at 7:30 p.m. Each program will be held at Rockford Methodist Church and will feature a variety of music. Christmas candles will adorn each of the windows.
This Surry County Christmas tradition is sponsored by the Rockford Preservation Society and led by Dr. Gena Poovey, professor of music at Limestone College in Gaffney, S.C.
Hannah Holyfield, president of the Rockford Preservation Society, said, Its the most beautiful way to start your Christmas season, and many people will tell you that.
On Thursday evening the program will feature music from Poovey accompanied by Norma Johnson, Zephyr Lightning Bolts, Gene Anderson and Reel Shady, and the Mount Airy Girls Chorus directed by Gena Ray.
On Friday evening music will be provided by Poovey accompanied by Johnson, guitarist Charles Bowman, Michael and Gaynell Lambert, and the Seratones Quartet.
The music genres represented range from bluegrass to chorus, but all of the singers or groups will perform Christmas tunes, both sacred and secular. Holyfield said Poovey is an accomplished soloist, and each year Poovey sings Come Unto Him from Messiah. This serves as the theme for the programs because the church is decorated with a fresco of Christ titled Come Unto Me.
Holyfield said the acoustics in the historic church make the music even more beautiful. This years programs may even be filmed to go on a county Web site.
Following the musical program cookies and hot apple cider will be served in the church. The Rockford Mercantile Christmas Shop and Museum and the Yadkin River Photography Shop, both located in historic downtown buildings, will be open prior to and after both programs.
There is no cost for the event, but Holyfield said donations are always welcome.
The Candlelight Christmas in Rockford program began in 1991 with one program. The event was scheduled for the first Friday in December each year. The attendance gradually grew to such a number that the society had to expand the program to offer two services in 2001 because the crowds were more than the church could hold.
Holyfield said people begin arriving around 10 minutes before 7 p.m. to get a good seat. She said, People come back every year.
The tradition was started by Poovey and Evelyn Holyfield when Poovey was the visiting artist at Surry Community College. Even after Holyfield died Poovey continued to come every year.
The Rockford Preservation Society plans to continue sponsoring this event each year.
Contact Meghann Evans at [email protected] or 719-1952.