CUMBERLAND — The town kicked off the holiday season Sunday evening with a medley of activities bookended by a concert and a visit from Santa Claus.
The Cumberland Community Band, led by director and conductor Mike Perfetti, opened the festivities at 4 p.m. with a one-hour concert that packed the sanctuary of the Congregational Church.
Joined by the Low Commotion brass quartet, the performers offered an array of tunes that spanned from traditional holiday fare like “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” to more unique selections from the Tim Burton film “The Nightmare Before Christmas.”
The band, sponsored that night by the Cumberland/North Yarmouth Community Recreation Department, recently received a $1,000 donation as a seed fund, Perfetti told the audience. The money will go toward renting trucks for their equipment buying music, and possibly purchasing t-shirts for the band, he added.
With that performance concluded, the throng of celebrants moved outside to the church’s front steps, where the Greely High School Madrigals led a singalong of Christmas carols. They were joined in part by the Sounds of Silence youth group, which performed songs in sign language.
Along with the Recreation Department, the Cumberland/North Yarmouth Lions Club, volunteers from the Cumberland Fire Department, and the Congregational Church all pitched in to make the event happen.
While trying to keep warm and waiting for the singing to start, a few people chimed in on what made the night, and the holiday season, special for them.
“We’ve been coming for a number of years to hear our kids sing,” said Bill Dehais, noting the that the prior performance of the band was “awesome.”
Paul Auclair, who with his wife Deborah is a member of the church, said “we came to listen to the band, and maybe do some caroling, go in and have some festivities, join our grand kids, our in-laws, and our friends from the church.”
As the Madrigals wrapped up their performance, Santa rolled into town on a fire engine, lighting the Cumberland Christmas tree at the corner of Main Street and Tuttle Road.
St. Nick then headed inside, joined by people of all ages for a meet and greet, and to look forward to other holiday events in the weeks ahead.
NORTH YARMOUTH — A week after Cumberland’s tree-lighting ceremony, North Yarmouth will follow suit at 6 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 6.
The large tree in front of the F.O. Bailey Real Estate building at the corner of Route 9 and Route 115 will once again be lit, following caroling and music by the North Yarmouth Community Band. Santa leads the way into the Fire Station afterward for cookies and cocoa.
— Alex Lear
Santa Claus greets families after arriving on a fire truck at Cumberland’s Christmas tree-lighting ceremony on Sunday, Nov. 29. (Lauren Lear / For The Forecaster)