Tri-M Music Honor Society aims to continue a Maine West tradition by caroling throughout downtown Des Plaines this December. Simultaneously raising awareness for the Prism Concert and enjoying the festivity of the season, the group of students will spend a Friday evening in early December visiting businesses around the community to sing songs and encourage residents to attend the upcoming concert at school.
“Whether it’s the laundromats, the library, the police department or city hall—we carol to those places,” Tri-M officer senior Runal Patel said. “We walk in, ask if we can sing, sing a couple of songs, and then ask them if they can hang some posters for us to advertise our Prism Concert.”
Students will break into small groups and head out towards the planned destinations downtown, choosing from a collection of secular carols.
“The Tri-M caroling is a fun opportunity for music students to get together and publicize the Prism Concert for the music department,” choral director James Schiffer said. “Aside from advertising our Prism concert and spreading holiday cheer, it is also a great opportunity to build camaraderie among the students.”
In addition to the caroling tradition, Des Plaines hosts an annual tree-lighting ceremony for the city tree at Metropolitan Square. This year’s Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony is set to take place Dec. 2 at 4 p.m., and Santa is scheduled to arrive on top of a fire engine at 4:30 p.m. for photos with children. Following a countdown, Mayor Matthew Bogusz will flip the switch to light up the tree at 6 p.m.
“Our community wants [students] to be there,” Fine Arts Department chair Patrick Barnett said. “The ceremony that takes place downtown not only involves Maine West students, but also involves students from school District 62—the schools that most of our students attended from kindergarten— so it’s a great chance for all of us to celebrate the season.”
Previous tree lighting ceremonies featured performances by both band and Choraliers, as well as the reading of Christmas tales in front of the tree and enjoying free hot chocolate from Panera. Dance numbers by the Artistry In Motion dance troupe and a musical feature by the Salvation Army Brass Band were part of last year’s ceremony, too.
“It’s a fun event—we all get to go down and spread some holiday cheer,” Patel said. “We’re being a part of the community and spreading the joy of the season. It’s a lot of fun to just hang out, but also to have some hot chocolate and sing.”
“I get feedback on [the student’s] performance at the tree-lighting, and everybody loves it,” Barnett said.