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The Bell Tones children's choir will perform a selection of holiday music at The Center's Spirit of Giving community tree-lighting ceremony.

Holiday music by the Bell Tones children’s choir, drawings for free show tickets and giveaways, refreshments, and even a visit from Santa Claus all are part of a special night of family-oriented entertainment as The Center for Rural Development celebrates the arrival of the Christmas season on Monday, Nov. 28, with its annual Spirit of Giving community tree-lighting ceremony.

Later that evening, Lake Cumberland Performing Arts in partnership with The Center presents the Children’s Prime Time Theatre performance of the timeless Christmas classic, “The Gift of the Magi,” based on a short story written by O. Henry.

The festivities begin at 5:30 p.m. with a reception in the front lobby followed by entertainment by the Bell Tones, an elementary school choir from Wayne County, all leading up to the magical moment when the lights on The Center’s 20-foot Christmas tree are turned on for the first time this holiday season.

“The Center for Rural Development extends an invitation to everyone to attend our Spirit of Giving tree-lighting ceremony,” Lonnie Lawson, president and CEO of The Center, said. “It truly is a pleasure to host this great annual event for the children and families of Pulaski and surrounding counties.”

Under the direction of Anita Carolyn Peters and Tammye Sumpter, the Bell Tones Choir, a group of second-, third-, and fourth-grade students at Bell Elementary School, will perform a selection of holiday music.

The choir performs regularly at community and special events and this year has been asked to sing at a pre-show event for one of Renfro Valley’s “Christmas in the Valley” holiday shows.

Free cookies and hot apple cider donated by the Somerset Walmart will also be served. Those present will have the chance to win free show tickets from The Center and door prizes, such as a Walmart fruit basket and a holiday gift basket prepared by The Center’s staff.

Santa Claus is expected to make a visit near the end of the program to greet the children in the audience and listen to their Christmas wishes.

The crowd also will get to meet professional actors in the cast of “The Gift of the Magi” shortly before the opening of the holiday performance at 7 p.m. in the theatre.

“O. Henry’s classic tale of the wisest gifts of Christmas, brought to stage by The Children’s Theatre from the Greater Cincinnati area, is a heart-warming story to share with those we love this holiday season,” said Dianna Winstead, associate director of arts, culture, and events at The Center. “Make plans to attend this Children’s Prime Time Theatre performance as we kick off the first of two special holiday performances at The Center.”

"The Gift of the Magi"

In “The Gift of the Magi,” a young married couple, Della and Jim, discovers the true joy of gift giving and friendship.

For Christmas, Della decides to buy her husband a chain for his prized pocket watch given to him by his father’s father. To raise the funds, she has her long, beautiful hair cut off and sold to make a wig.

Meanwhile, Jim decides to sell his watch to buy Della a beautiful set of combs made out of tortoiseshell and jewels for her lovely, knee-length brown hair. Each is surprised to find the gifts they chose rendered useless, yet each is pleased with the gifts that they received, because it represents their love for one another.

On Saturday, Dec. 3, Mooseltoe—the Moose with a Dream—and all his costumed character friends will be at The Center for a Center Stage holiday performance of “Mooseltoe: A New Moosical,” at a special 3 p.m. matinee and 7:30 p.m. program in an enchanting new musical about a moose whose dream is to learn to fly with Santa’s reindeer.

This sparkling holiday production includes 16 unforgettable costumed characters and is filled with original, memorable and melodic songs.

Click here to purchase tickets for “The Gift of the Magi” or “Mooseltoe: A New Moosical” or contact The Center’s Box Office at 606-677-6000.

The Box Office is open 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday and shortly before the opening of each performance at The Center, located at 2292 South U.S. 27 (at Traffic Light 15).

The Kentucky Arts Council, the state arts agency, provides operating support to Lake Cumberland Performing Arts with state tax dollars and federal funding from the National Endowment for the Arts.

These performances are funded in part by a grant from South Arts in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and Kentucky Arts Council.