CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The joys of the holiday season filled the air inside and outside of the State Capitol on Tuesday night.
Governor Jim Justice and First Lady Cathy Justice lighting the state Christmas tree, multiple musical performances and holiday cards for military highlighted the 2018 Joyful Night, West Virginia’s annual celebration of the Christmas season at the Capitol Complex.
“I enjoyed the tree lighting and the dancing tonight,” Angel Lillard, a Charleston native said. “One of my favorite parts about Christmas if the gift of giving and receiving, because “who doesn’t like to receive gifts every once in a while.”
Joyful Night 2018 got underway with concert performances on the footsteps of the Capitol from the Cabell Midland High School Marching Band, the Spring Valley High School Marching Band, and the Capital High School V.I.P.s.
The schools performed many Christmas favorites including “Frosty the Snowman” and “Jingle Bells.”
“We’ve been preparing for a couple of weeks,” Jaxzen Allen, a Capital High School V.I.P., said. “We picked out a couple of songs, put them together and put together a few notebooks. We really wanted to come out here and sing a couple of them.
“We really enjoyed the Christmas tree lighting. We were all looking for the tree because the performance lights were all up in our faces and we couldn’t see it. We were all looking for it so when they dimmed the lights and we saw the tree get lit up, it was really awesome.”
The high schools performed in front of Gov. Justice and the First Lady before the two lit the state Christmas tree. Throughout the performances and lighting of the tree on the chilly Capitol steps, snow fell.
“The snow and weather add to the atmosphere,” Lana Caldwell, a Charleston native, said. “We went shopping today, we are decorating and we came to this. We are doing it all and we are in the Christmas spirit.”
Gov. Justice and First Lady Cathy Justice then signed holiday cards for the military for the Red Cross in the Governor’s Reception Room. The two then read “‘Twas the Night before Christmas” at the Governor’s Mansion while the Brass Quintet from Cabell Midland High School played Christmas Carols outside of the Governor’s Mansion.
Inside the Culture Center, the First Lady announced the student ornament contest winners. Those winners included: Grades K-2, Belmont Elementary School, Grades 3-5, Pineville Middle School, Grades 6-8, Jackson Middle School, and Grades 9-12 was Keyser High School.
During that time in the Culture Center, The Greenbrier Performers sang Christmas favorites and traded performance time with Musselman High School’s Exit 5 Jazz Band.
A visit from Santa topped off Joyful Night 2018.
“We didn’t know any of the kids performing but they were wonderful, though,” Robert Caldwell, husband of Lana Caldwell, said. “They were great and it is a wonderful thing.”
“The majorettes wearing the traditional white shoes stuck out to me. You don’t see that anymore.”