Ninth annual Lighting of the Green shines brightly with ...
By Bridgette Begle and Brianne Welch
The ninth annual Lighting of the Green brought rich tradition and holiday spirit to the Nashville community Tuesday night.
Show regular Amy Grant was joined tonight by Ben Rector, David Phelps, Brenda Lee, Nicole C. Mullen, Hymns for Hunger & Friends (feat. Cindy Morgan and Andrew Greer) and the Stella family, including Nashville‘s Lennon & Maisy, for a night of music, merriment and plenty of bright Christmas lights.
Fourth and fifth grade students from Lipscomb Academy, as well as the high school chorus, joined the University chorus on stage throughout the performance. The younger chorus tipped off the night with a medley of holiday classics, and the University chorus sang “Deck the Halls.”
“We came here to hear one of our children sing in the chorus,” parent Heather Duncan said.” Our daughter is in the fifth grade at the campus school, so we’re looking forward to hearing everyone sing tonight.”
About halfway through the show, Brenda Lee, singer of holiday classic “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,” came onto the stage and ignited enthusiasm throughout the crowd.
She asked for “eight really good singers,” and ended up with about 15 children, ranging from ages five to 20, to join her in the Christmas classic “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.”
Lee shared her delight in being a part of the night’s fun.
“You know, when miss Amy Grant asks you to do something, it’s just awful hard to say no,” Lee said. “So I’m awfully proud to do this for Lipscomb. It’s a wonderful event.”
Christian artist Nicole C.Mullen insisted the crowd stand during her song “365.” People sang along and danced to the up-beat Christmas jam. She also performed her popular song “Redeemer.”
Another Christian artist, David Phelps, preformed “Mary, Did You Know?” and “O Holy Night.”
Video by Sydney Poe, Janice Ng and Whitney Jarreld
Stars of the hit TV show, Nashville, Lennon and Maisy Stella, made their debut at Lipscomb singing “Silent Night” and “Christmas Coming Home.”
They are the daughters of Canadian country music artists Brad and Marylynne Stella, known as The Stellas.
The Stellas preformed after their daughters and came onto the stage with Marylynne Stella saying, “We always said we would never go after our kids.”
“Well, every Christmas it seems like something happens. Last year, we were on the West Coast so we couldn’t come here,” Brad Stella said.
“But, Christmas is a good opportunity for us to do family things, so it’s nice to be able to do this for sure,” Marylynne Stella added.
University president Randy Lowry and first lady Rhonda Lowry came out at the end of the show and talked about Second Harvest Food Bank, a charity organization that was being supported by the show. For every dollar donated, four meals are provided for a family in need.
In honor of Lipscomb’s tenth year as a Division I program, President Lowry welcomed athletes Jewell Dobson, Caitlin Dotson, Tessa Hoeffe and Omar Djabi to the stage to light the tree in the middle of the Johnson circle.
Free hot chocolate and cookies were handed out by theater majors dressed according to their Christmas village theme. Concert-going kids could also make a visit to St. Nick himself, who was in attendance for the night’s festivities.
Longtime event helper Winston Phifer has worked for Lighting of the Green all nine years. He expressed his enjoyment of seeing familiar faces while on the job.
“The best part is the fellowship and camaraderie, and seeing people I haven’t seen in a long time,” Phifer said.
Grant thanked Lipscomb for their generosity, also noting the ideal locale for a show of this magnitude.
“Only in Nashville could you pull off an evening like this,” Grant said.
Brianna Langley, Janice Ng and Logan Butts contributed to this story.
Headlining photo credit: Whitney Jarreld
Gallery by Jarreld and Erin Turner