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Katonah Celebrates Holidays With Tree, Menorah Lightings

Spectators gathered by the Christmas tree in downtown Katonah moments after it is lit for the 2015 holiday season. Photo Credit: Tom Auchterlonie
Cantor Shira Adler sings on the first night of Hanukkah in Katonah. Photo Credit: Tom Auchterlonie
Girls Scouts from Katonah's Troop 1038 sing at the tree and menorah lighting celebration. Photo Credit: Tom Auchterlonie
Members of the Treble Makers, which is John Jay High School's coed a cappella group, perform at the tree and menorah lighting event in Katonah. Photo Credit: Tom Auchterlonie
Members of the Notables, which is John Jay High School's all-girl a cappella group, perform at Katonah's tree and menorah lighting event. Photo Credit: Tom Auchterlonie
A large crowd of people turned out for Katonah's annual tree and menorah lighting event. Photo Credit: Tom Auchterlonie
Members of the Rolling Tones, which is John Jay High School's all-boy a cappella group, perform at the Katonah tree and menorah lighting event. Photo Credit: Tom Auchterlonie
Kristin Kelleher, a John Jay High School grad, sings carols at Katonah's tree and menorah lighting celebration. Photo Credit: Tom Auchterlonie
Jim Arena Jr., (center), who has been an active Katonah firefighter since 1958 and has played Santa Claus for the fire department since 1975, is honored with a proclamation. Photo Credit: Tom Auchterlonie

KATONAH, N.Y. -- Downtown Katonah was abuzz on Sunday evening for the hamlet's annual Christmas tree and menorah lightings.

Spectators gathered in front of St. Luke's Episcopal Church, where cookies and cocoa were served, as carols were performed by an array of local groups. Several spectators came wearing Santa Claus hats.

"It's a beautiful night," said Rita Carrozza, who served as the event's master of ceremonies. The gathering was supported by the Katonah Chamber of Commerce.

The two lightings effectively served as book ends for the celebration. Cantor Shira Adler sang in front of the menorah on what was the first night of Hanukkah. Next, several Girl Scouts from Katonah's Troop 1038 performed carols that included "Jingle Bells."

Three student a cappella groups from John Jay High School came on stage to offer their performances. First came the Treble Makers, the school's coed group, which performed carols such as "Silent Night" and "Santa Claus is Coming to Town." Next came the Notables, the school's all-girl group, which performed a rendition of "Carol of the Bells." The Rolling Tones, the school's all-boy group, rounded out of the student performances, with its appearance including a rendition of "Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire."

The last musical act was Kristin Kelleher, a John Jay graduate who sang while her father played guitar. Kelleher performed renditions of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" and "Winter Wonderland."

The celebration also served as an occasion to honor a longtime Katonah resident who has been parts of the holiday season for years. A town proclamation was read in honor of James Arena Jr., who has been an active Katonah volunteer firefighter since 1958 - he joined when he was just 18 - and served as chief during the 1990s. Arena, it was noted, as played Santa Claus for the fire department for 40 years.

Alan Eifert, who is the chamber's president, read the proclamation honoring Arena.

The celebration included a 50-50 raffle, along with a drawing to pick a person tasked with moving a switch to light the Christmas tree. The lighting, which served as the finale for the evening, was met with cheering from the audience.

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