Central York teacher killed in apparent murder-suicide: coroner

Locals gather for 12th annual Springetts tree lighting

Christopher Dornblaser

The cold weather did not stop friends and families from enjoying a little bit of Christmas spirit Friday night at Springettsbury Park.

About 150 people came out to see York Suburban Middle School and Central York Middle School students perform Christmas music at the Springettsbury Park Amphitheater for the 12th annual Holiday Tree Lighting.

The event: The two middle schools brought a choral group and a band group to perform Friday night. York Suburban Middle School's "Christmas Jazz Band" and "Sounds of Tomorrow" and Central York Middle School's "Christmas Brass" and "Raise Your Voice" performed various Christmas songs from 6 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. when the tree was lit. Volunteers from Toys for Tots were also there collecting toys for the holidays.

While the musicians played, Santa himself walked the aisles of the amphitheater, handing out treats and greeting any children in the audience.

Paige Krafsur, whose son is a member of the "Christmas Jazz Band" at York Suburban, was experiencing the tree lighting event for the first time, and she noted the decorations on the stage.

"I really like how it's decorated here," she said.

Krafsur said she had not seen a musical performance at the Ampitheater and that she was excited to see the show.

Central York Band Director Rick Worley said the middle school has been involved with the show since its inception 12 years ago, and they have been participating in it ever since, sometimes in snow and ice.

"It's a great honor to be part of the lighting every year," he said. He said initially the event was much smaller and Central York was the only band performing for the show. Now the event garners much more people."

"It's been fun to watch the event grow," Worley said.

He noted the tree that is lit each year was originally planted during the first year of the lighting.

"It was like a Charlie Brown Christmas," he said.

Now, the tree grows tall behind the amphitheater seating.

Donating for Tots:  A Toys for Tots donation stand stood right before the entrance, piled high with toys. One person, Andrea Geier of East York, donated over 100 toys.

Geier goes out every year after the holidays and buys as many on-sale toys as possible, and packages them up to donate for the next year's holiday.

"When the toys go on sale, I go around and buy them up," she said.

Geier and her 9-year-old grandson Ryland Myers have been giving toys to the Toys for Tots program for the past two years.

"I just thought if I was fortunate enough to be able to help, I would do that," she said.

She said they hauled the toys over in a pickup truck to drop them off for the event.

The lighting: Central York's "Christmas Brass" concluded the evening. After they finished their performance, the audience gathered around the then-unlit tree while Mark Swomley, Chairman of the Board in Springettsbury Township, spoke before the audience and helped count down the lighting while "Christmas Brass" performed in the background.

— Reach Christopher Dornblaser at cdornblaser@yorkdispatch.com