CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- In a special tribute to first responders and members of the military, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and First Lady Joanne Jaeger Tomblin will welcome West Virginians to the annual Joyful Night celebration Dec. 3, 2013, at the State Capitol Complex in Charleston, beginning at 5:30 p.m. As part of the festivities, the First Family encourages attendees to bring a new unwrapped toy for the U.S. Marines' Toys for Tots campaign.
"Joanne and I would like to personally invite you to join us at the State Capitol to kick off the holiday season with this year's Joyful Night Celebration. As we come together to enjoy this special night, let us honor our first responders, military members, and their families and celebrate the spirit of giving," Gov. Tomblin said. "Whether through a charitable organization like the Marines' Toys for Tots or helping a family in your neighborhood, Joanne and I encourage all West Virginians to give back to your community this holiday season."
The evening's events will begin at 5:30 p.m. at the North Plaza of the Capitol with musical selections by the Cabell Midland High School Marching Band and Capital High School Marching Band. The Joyful Night program will begin at 6 p.m. The Sissonville High School Junior ROTC will post the colors, followed by the singing of the National Anthem by the Capital High School VIPs and the Pledge of Allegiance, led by retired West Virginia Chief Warrant Officer Hershel "Woody" Williams. Gov. and First Lady Tomblin will light the tree, which was provided by Mr. and Mrs. Ronald Fisher of Charleston, followed by a performance by the Appalachian Children's Cantare Chorus of Southern West Virginia.
Visitors will proceed to the South Plaza of the Capitol where the Princeton Senior High School Marching Band will perform, followed by a tribute to West Virginia's first responders and members of the military and the lighting of the tree provided by Crickmer Christmas Tree Farm of Danese.
The first floor Rotunda of the Capitol will feature a holiday tree decorated with ornaments hand made by school children throughout the state. There, the Martin Luther King Jr. Male Chorus will perform. The annual U.S. Marine Corps Toys for Tots donation site will also be located in the rotunda.
The "First Responders Recognition" tree and the "Gold Star Families Recognition" tree will be featured in the Governor's Reception Room alongside the American Red Cross exhibit.
Gov. and First Lady Tomblin will continue the tradition of reciting "Twas the Night Before Christmas" at the Governor's Mansion, which will be open to visitors during the Joyful Night celebration. Musical performances will showcase the talents of Governor's School for the Arts students Raven McCormick, a pianist from Lincoln County High; Jay Jay Ta, a violinist from Capital High School; Molly Blackwood, a cellist from Capital High School and Olivia Boughton, a violist from Capital High School, and the Appalachian Children's Chorus. The mansion Christmas tree, which features handmade ornaments by West Virginia artists and artisans, was provided by the West Virginia Tree Growers Association.
The Culture Center will be the final stop during the Joyful Night celebration. The Washington Irving Middle School Show Choir will perform in the Great Hall while visitors enjoy light refreshments and visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus.
For more information about the Joyful Night activities, contact Caryn Gresham, deputy commissioner of the West Virginia Division of Culture and History at (304) 558-0220.
Amy Shuler Goodwin