Wednesday, December 2, 2009

First Lights: The Miracle of Capitol Square

Business owners in East Arlington's Capitol Square are not letting cutbacks and gloomy forecasts ruin their holiday spirit.

Despite the threat of cancellation, some enterprising folks around the historic square won't see their First Lights extinguished. Reviving the tradition on their own, free events and special promotions are being planned for Saturday, December 5 from 12-4 pm.

In fact, they're so enthusiastic about what's going on in their neck of the woods that they decided to sing about it

It all started with witty Jan Whitted, from ARTBEAT Creativity Store and Studio, who likes to rewrite song lyrics (and once did so for the Boston Pops). She wrote lyrics to Let It Snow that extol Capitol Square as the best place to shop and dine, focusing on the virtues of keeping it local for the holidays.

Ever crafty, she stayed behind the scenes as she recruited American Idol wannabes from the neighborhood to inspire their moment in the spotlight.

Marc Gurton, the owner of 13FOREST Gallery, was first in line for the shenanigans. "Now more than ever," Gurton noted, "we were happy to spread some cheer and continue a tradition that folks around here clearly love. I just hope my high school chorus teacher doesn't catch sight of us."

Vanity aside, It wasn't difficult then to appeal to the inner hams of 13FOREST Gallery manager Eileen Ani, Brian Phillips from Maxima Gift Center, and Andrai Whitted from ARTBEAT to help record the ditty.

Risking their professional reputations, the hapless quartet met at the landmark Capitol Theatre to "sing" in the new ice cream parlor recently built inside the theatre's historic lobby. East Arlington resident Walter Locke volunteered to videotape the carollers, and the MTV-worthy performance will air on local cable station ACMi.TV.

The result, an a cappella showcase of collegial enthusiasm (if not actual talent), is an example of community spirit that proves that life - even with a frightful economy - is quite delightful.

For a full list of events, including free movies at the Capitol Theatre and holiday window lighting at 4 pm, check out capitol square.

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