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School Choir Still Lends Voices To Morton Holiday Display

Lights On Main Street

It took more effort than usual, but a popular Christmas display in Morton has a regular contribution back in the mix.

Tom Godfrey’s house has been running the “Lights On Main Street” animated decoration sequence set to music for four years. The show usually includes a song performed by the Morton Elementary Choir, directed by Shane Rocke.

“Usually I talk to them and during the summer, right around Fourth of July, and we start kind of thinking about it and trying to figure out what song the kids can do,” said Godfrey. “This year was a little … little tricky.”

Of course, that trickiness came from the COVID-19 pandemic and the need to practice social distancing and limit large gatherings.

“Our choir, the last several years, has been 100-plus students – up to as high as 140 kids,” said Rocke. “This year, we couldn't have that many people in a single space. So we broke the choir into three very small groups of between 30 and 40 to record them.”

Rocke explained the recording method also had to change.

“Before, we brought in an outside studio to get a high-quality recording,” he said. “We didn't bring in an outside studio this time, just because we're limiting the number of people we're bringing into contact with the kids. So we just used our in-house cameras, recording for our online Christmas concert and just took that audio.”

Rocke said Godfrey then took the recordings of all three groups performing the song “Noel,” and spliced the versions into one seamless track – with each group getting nearly equal time. Godfrey said the song was added to the program earlier this week.

“I’m just thrilled the kids can be a part of it,” said Rocke. “They love being able to see the lights set to their voices, hear themselves singing and then to see the lights synced up with it is really cool for the kids.”

Godfrey said “a couple hundred” cars drive by nightly to watch the show. The 20-minute program plays on a loop from 4-10 p.m.

“The closer we get to Christmas, the busier it becomes,” said Godfrey. “We’ve gotten a really good community response. I’ve got a Facebook page where people can watch videos and make comments, and I think there’s 2,300-2,500 people that follow that page.”

Godfrey says the display will remain active through New Year’s Eve.

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