By Marianne Mueller, REPORTER


Marianne Mueller, PHOTO – The Herald. Charles Myers amazed and delighted everyone by playing at the Church by the Side of the Road Service. Myers opened and closed the Christmas Candelight Service on Dec. 11.

Rockton has long been known to uphold many traditions during the Christmas season. Candles glowed amidst a beautifully decorated sanctuary as The Church by the Side of the Road celebrated in classic style. Every year the Christmas Candlelight service marks everything that is truly behind the meaning of this most extraordinary holiday. This traditional style service started off with the singing of Christmas Carols. Familiar tunes of “Oh Little Town of Bethlehem, Silent Night, Away in a Manger, Hark the Herald Angels Sing and O Come O Come Emanuel” filled the church. The very talented Neala Jensen and Steve Johnson performed favorites with a nice blend of solos and duets. Stand out tunes included “Mary Did You Know,” “Breath of Heaven” and “Joseph’s song.” The song, “A Strange Way to Save the World” depicts Jesus’ birth and all of the miracles he performed. All joined in singing “Let There be Peace on Earth.” Hononegah High School student Charles Myers delighted everyone with his smooth and flawless stint at the piano. Pastor Charles Waggoner recognized Wayne and Andrea Bates for everything they do at the church and for hosting the Christmas Candlelight Service for the past 21 years.

Grade School students took to Hononegah High School’s Performing Arts Center stage opening up a row of awesome concerts. Some of the concerts featured little ones wearing Christmas themed hats or outfits. All of the performers gave their all to create spectacular memories. Hononegah High School’s Winter Concert displayed the enormous talents of choral and band members. Dressed in semi-formal attire the choir sang in perfect harmony. Every year HHS Alumni are given the honor of singing the smooth flowing lyrics to “In December.” Other amazing numbers included “Mary Did You Know,” “The Christmas Song,” upbeat tunes from Charlie Brown, and “Sing Choirs of Angels.” As a narrator read the story combined bands played a very memorable version of “Twas’ the Night before Christmas.”  “Santa Baby” added a light and fun touch. “Ave Maria” and a perfect variation of Christmas greats! The last number was a powerhouse version of the “Halleluiah Chorus” where the band and choir raised the bar!  Hours of music created spectacular numbers that held everyone’s attention. At the end of the concert a well-deserved standing ovation resulted.  

On Thursday, Dec. 15 the Holiday Singers of Hononegah High School performed a medley of Christmas tunes at CherryVale Mall.

Speaking of Hononegah High School choir members, a list was recently posted of students who made it to All State. Jack Hradecky made it to the All State Jazz Choir. Cassidy Brandt, Jordan Powder and Cross Nelson made it to the All State Choir. Hannah Ahrens and Brandon Wells have been named to the All-State Honors Choir. Congratulations to each of these talented vocalists!

Churches have brought cantatas to life, letting the light of the season shine through! The Old Stone Church incorporated bell ringers into their service. Every year Open Arms Lutheran Church brings a “No Rehearsal” Christmas pageant to life. All congregational members and guests tell the Christmas story in a unique manner. This is a must go to event that is loads of pure fun while shining a light on the entire season! Open Arms is having a Christmas Eve Candlelight Worship at 10 p.m. and all are welcome. In lieu of doing their own Christmas Day service, the congregation is joining other area churches at a Community Christmas breakfast and worship celebration at Loves Park City Hall. Breakfast starts at 9:45 a.m. followed by an 11 a.m. worship party.

Prince of Peace Church invites everyone to attend either a 4 p.m. Christmas Eve Service, complete with a live nativity scene and pageant. If that service does not meet schedules another meaningful candlelight service is happening at 11 p.m. The Old Stone Church invites the public to a 4 p.m. Christmas Eve Vigil Service or a 7 p.m. Christmas Eve worship at 7 p.m. They will also have a Christmas Day service at 9:30 a.m. Rockton United Methodist Church is holding a 9 a.m. Christmas Day worship. The Church by the Side of the Road is hosting a Christmas day service from 10 a.m. until 11 a.m.

At the end of the Christmas season those who have real trees can recycle them. Remove the stand, any wire or plastic, lights and decorations from the tree. Leave only the tree, not the wraps or plastic bag that was used to transport it. No wreaths, garlands or flocked trees will be accepted. Drop trees off in Rockton at either Williams Tree Farm or at the Rockton Boat Ramp parking area. Tree recycling has been ongoing thanks to keep Northern Illinois Beautiful since 1988. Free mulch is available as trees are chipped, while it lasts through February.

Local businesses, organizations and non-profit groups have celebrated a year full of success, challenges and being together. Christmas parties bring everyone together in more of a family atmosphere. The Rockton Lions Club reached out to 130 families this Christmas. Donations were given through the Wimpy Fund!

Love and sympathies are sent to family and friends in the loss of Joe Floto.

I personally wish every Rockton Ramblings reader the Merriest Christmas ever and a very Happy New Year! Hold your family and friends close year round!




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