By SUE SUCHYTA
DEARBORN – Music and sparkling lights helped make spirits bright at the city’s tree lighting Nov. 21 at the Ford Community & Performing Arts Center, where even the Grinch discovered holiday joy.
A docile reindeer posed for photos outdoors while the Grinch, embodied by Dearborn Youth Theatre director Rashid Baydon, lurked on the roof of the COMPAC while trying to devise a way to erase the holiday cheer.
But before the switch was flipped to set the city aglow with festive cheer, the Vanguard Voices, under the direction of G. Kevin Dewey, sang indoors in the Michael A. Guido Theater lobby, while the Festival of Trees was open at no charge in the Lincoln Ballroom, and the Padzieski Gallery offered local artists’ work for seasonal shopping.
The tree lighting ceremony itself included a musical prelude by the Dearborn Public Schools Elementary Honors Choir, followed by members of the Dearborn Youth Theatre costumed as Whoville residents, singing “Fah Who Doraz,” also known as “Welcome Christmas.” Guest vocalist Adam El-Zein sang “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch.”
Mayor Abdullah Hammoud, along with special guest and Dearborn Public Schools student Malik Ali, lit the tree, but not until Police Chief Issa Shahin and his special elf patrol officers intervened and convinced the roof-mounted Grinch to give up in his ill-fated attempt to thwart the city’s tree lighting ceremony.
After the tree lighting, the Guido Theater hosted live musical performances by the Dearborn Concert Band and the Dearborn Public Schools Elementary Honors Choir, as well as vocalist Vanessa El-Zein singing “Man with a Bag” and a community sing along.
The city’s new 30-foot white fir, resplendent with lights, may be viewed on the west side of the COMPAC near the circular drive.