Singing Christmas tree returns to San Marco

Singing Christmas tree returns to San Marco
This photo, taken in 2011, shows Southside Baptist’s Singing Christmas Tree, complete with 75 choralists.

For the first time in six years, Southside Baptist Church will host its popular Singing Christmas Tree Concert.

The concert, which was reinstituted by the church due to popular demand, will take place in the church sanctuary at 7 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday evening, Dec. 15-17. Each performance is free and open to the community, however concert-goers must have a ticket so the church can ensure there will be enough seats for all desiring to attend. To obtain a ticket, contact the church at (904) 396-6633. Tickets may be picked up at the church or mailed out by request.

“The church felt like it was missing an opportunity to give something back to the community, so it wanted to bring back this community-wide event,” said Eddie Lockamy, who was formerly Southside Baptist’s Minister of Music and has returned to the church to conduct the singing tree this year.

Currently the pastor of Arlington Baptist Church, Lockamy served as Music and Worship Minister at Southside Baptist from 1987 to 2005, conducting the singing tree for 17 years. He continued the tradition in Bradfordville First Baptist Church in Tallahassee for eight years before returning to Jacksonville in 2013.

“When I moved back to Jacksonville, I really missed doing it the first two or three Christmases because I had done 25 of them in a row,” Lockamy said. “I was really excited when Southside Baptist asked me to conduct again, and I think the community will be glad to have it back again this year as well.”

Southside Baptist carried on the singing tree tradition throughout the 1960s and ‘70s, before going on a hiatus until 1988 when Lockamy brought the concert back. It continued 17 years with him at the helm and once more in 2011, he said.

“We are resurrecting the tradition, so to speak,” he continued. “Now it’s the only one in town, whereas before there used to be several singing Christmas trees in the city,” Lockamy said. “It’s kind of like a phenomenon. People don’t know what to think of a singing tree.

Standing 30 feet high, the three-story tree holds 75 singers alternately dressed in red and green capes and includes an angel-clad choralist on top, he said.

The chorus includes singers from Fruit Cove Baptist, Arlington Baptist, East Pointe Baptist, Deer Meadows Baptist, San Jose Catholic, Missionway Church, Cedar Creek Baptist, First Christian Church, First Baptist Callahan, and, of course, Southside Baptist, has been practicing since September and will perform a program of “familiar” Christmas music.

“We have a good group of singers who are very faithful to rehearsals and sing very well,” he said.


By Marcia Hodgson
Resident Community News

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