SARDIS CITY — It was standing room only at the Sardis City Christmas tree lighting event as parents and children gathered inside the Sardis City Community Center for singing, refreshments and to meet Santa Claus.

The Sardis Middle School choir, led by Shannon Waits, performed several classic Christmas carols including “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer,” “Winter Wonderland,” and “Go Tell It on the Mountain.”

The choir also sang “Christmas Kumbaya” which included African lyrics and musical styling.

Mayor Russell Amos welcomed everyone and invited them to enjoy the refreshments, which included a variety of cookies, hot cocoa and coffee. In years past, the tree lighting event had been held outside, but Amos said it was moved inside the community center this year due to the cold.

“I’ve done had some folks tell me they appreciate doing [the event] inside this year because it’s kind of cold outside,” he said.

The choir will perform some of the carols in Gadsden next week at an event for special needs children, Waits said.

“It’s a blessing to those children,” she said. “ … You’ve never seen any happier faces. It’s worth every penny we spend.”

Waits said the choir had to learn extra songs for the special needs event on top of the songs for the annual Christmas program.

Santa Claus made a surprise visit halfway through the concert and stayed to take pictures with children and hear their Christmas wish lists. A cozy Christmas scene complete with a faux fireplace and Christmas tree was set up for Santa and the children.

Waits then asked the crowd to join in with the choir as they sang a few more Christmas carols. The Sardis Middle School Choir will be performing its annual Christmas concert Thursday, Dec. 12, at 7 p.m. at Sardis Baptist Church located at 1501 Church Street.

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