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COUNCIL, DIRECTORS SHARE

HOLIDAY MEMORIES, SENTIMENTS, WISHES

This year's holiday season offers an opportunity for reflection and remembrance of special times and experiences, as well as to focus on the sharing sentiments for the future.  This week, City officials including several City Council members and City department directors shared their special memories and wishes for the community.

QUESTION:

When it comes to the holiday season, do you have any special memories, traditions or wishes you would like to share?

 

**CITY COUNCIL**

PAT JONES

WARD ONE COUNCIL

"When I was young, I always looked forward to performing in the Christmas concerts, both at school and at church. The music of Christmas is so very special. There are both sacred and secular songs that trigger wonderful memories for people and, as a lifelong musician, it always brings me great joy to both perform and listen to all of them. Our family tradition of going to church on Christmas Eve then coming home to making chili and cinnamon rolls is still a favorite in our home. I especially love the candlelight singing of "Silent Night." 

RON WEIFENBACH

WARD ONE COUNCIL

"Spend this Christmas season reflecting on the blessed life you have been given; renew your faith in Jesus Christ."

RITCHIE NORDSTROM

WARD TWO COUNCIL

"This year will be a weird year that I hope will not be a new tradition.  This year we will social distance and perhaps zoom or messenger call in. 

I enjoy watching the kids opening the gifts. The very small ones have more fun with the gift wrapping than the gift itself.  The older ones with the eyes wide open and filled with joy when they see what they got from Santa. When I was learning our lines for the Church Christmas shows we would practice on the parents and Grand Parents the versus we had to recite.  Someone would read the Christmas story as we boys would share that responsibility (aka task as we did not like reading to an audience then).

Merry Christmas, Happy Holiday, Peace and Joy to all.  This year I’m adding Stay Safe."

BILL EVANS

WARD TWO COUNCIL

"It’s difficult to explain how many great holiday moments are on my happiest memories list.   Starting with so many trips as a child to the Montana ranch to see my Dad’s parents, my numerous uncles and aunts, and my 30 odd first cousins who are still part of our family reunions. 

            Seven bowl trips with the Cornhusker Marching Band—2 Orange, Cotton, Fiesta, Bluebonnet, Liberty, Sugar—and then home to Mom’s great cooking.  All of those Rec Room Risk and Pictionary games with my siblings and friends happened year after year.

            Most of all is the music, whether with my Stevens Symphonic Orchestra and Chorus or with the Chorus Angelorum at Blessed Sacrament Church.  I must say performing and directing the music of Christmas is, to me, the ultimate human experience, especially our annual Messiah with the Stevens Chamber Players.

            My recordings to hear at Christmas are numerous, but here are some of the top ones.

  • The Many Moods of Christmas—Robert Shaw and the RCA Radio Symphony--PERFECTION!  Only this recording though.  Even Shaw’s later recordings don’t compare.
  • Any Christmas recording from Kings College, Cambridge or by John Rutter’s Cambridge Singers—the British have this down cold.
  • The Andy Williams Christmas Album of 1963—this is how everybody should sing.
  • Anything by Karen Carpenter—one of the greatest pop voices in history, always in tune, articulate, and technically without flaw.
  • Barbra Streisand singing “The Christmas Song--Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire” a true masterpiece, arranged by Michel Legrand.

            If you do not own these, go buy or download them…..they will make you reassess any other Christmas music you hear, and bring a smile to any day.  And remember, Be Joyful ALWAYS!

GREG STROMMEN

WARD THREE COUNCIL

"When I was a boy, our family would travel to my aunt and uncle’s farm and the grandmas and aunts would bake and make Christmas treats.  We enjoyed traditional Norwegian treats like lefse, rosettes, and pickled herring.  If we kids asked enough times, my German grandma would sing “Oh Christmas Tree” in German (Oh Tannenbaum).  As I recall she was the only one who knew the words in German. I hummed along off-key as usual but she didn’t seem to mind."

JASON SALAMUN

WARD THREE COUNCIL

"In the late 1990s, my parents began a family tradition of cooking and serving breakfast at the Cornerstone Rescue Mission each Christmas morning. It's wonderful to have our entire family beginning our Christmas Day by serving together and sharing good cheer with others. Now, in 2020, my children have grown up believing this is normal. I'm very grateful for the example of my parents and the legacy they are passing along to the next generation. A great reminder that we are called to be good news people in a bad news world. 

Merry Christmas to each and every one of you! May God bless you all into the new year."

LANCE LEHMANN

WARD FOUR COUNCIL

"I would like to wish everybody a merry Christmas happy holiday season. It’s always my favorite time of the year, and in one of the first people to put up Christmas lights (even way before thanksgiving). Every Christmas it’s always amazing to be around my family and it is always a challenge to find a way to secretly consume dinner before our annual oyster stew we’ve had for Christmas Eve since I have conscious memory."

JOHN ROBERTS

WARD FOUR COUNCIL

Council member John Roberts did not respond to requests to share sentiments.

LAURA ARMSTRONG

WARD FIVE COUNCIL

"During this Christmas and holiday season may we have tenderness for the past, courage for the present and hope for the future. Kindest and warmest regards, Laura"

DARLA DREW LERDAL

WARD FIVE COUNCIL

"I adored the school holiday recitals, when I was in school, and when my kids were in school. Rapid City Schools had these goofy white poncho things that were indestructible. I wore one, and 30 years later, my kids were wearing them at South Canyon Elementary. The pageantry, the cute kindergarteners and upper grades, the orchestra and band, I loved it all."

 

**DEPARTMENT DIRECTORS**

DON HEDRICK

POLICE CHIEF

"I hope all Rapid Citians are able to celebrate the spirit of the Holidays in their own way this year.  2020 has been challenging in many ways for our City and I hope for a brighter and peaceful 2021.  Let’s make a New Year’s resolution to be kind to each other."

JASON CULBERSON

FIRE CHIEF

I will always remember Christmas as a kid.  We lived in Pierre and always came to Custer for Christmas.  We spent Christmas Eve with one set of Grandparents having fun and always got to open one present which was a game or puzzle we spent the evening playing the game.  The next morning we would get up early and get to the other grandparents house just missing Santa.  We would the day eating and playing games.  It was always so much fun and very memorable.

DALE TECH

PUBLIC WORKS DIRECTOR

My fondest memories of the holiday season were the annual hunts for the perfect natural Christmas tree and large extended gathering of relatives for Christmas dinner.  I wish all the very best this holiday season and hope everyone has a safe and Happy New Year!

KEN YOUNG

COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR

"On a normal Christmas Eve, after reading the Bible Christmas Story and having a dinner, our family will gather for some fun family activities. It starts with our traditional Swedish Sankta Lucia candle procession and carol singing, then a group reading of the family Christmas Story “Christmas in the Coop” that my brother wrote over 40 years ago, and then exchanging gifts."

PAULINE SUMPTION

CITY FINANCE DIRECTOR

"Christmas Eve always started with dinner consisting of chili and homemade chicken noodle soup (this was just for my sister that didn’t like chili) and then off to church.  Dad would drive “the long route” home so that we could see the Christmas lights.  One of the houses near their neighborhood had Santa in a plane in their front year – not the blow up kind, either.  From there it was home to open presents with the family, including the grandparents, aunts/uncles/cousins.  Snack of meat, cheese and crackers were handy – the adults had adult beverages. 

Christmas morning we would wake up to find our presents from Santa and then off to church again to celebrate Jesus’ birthday, complete with a birthday cake, candles and the birthday song.  Christmas dinner was usually at one of the grandparents’ house at first but eventually migrated to my parents’ house as well.  Dinner was always followed by card games of some kind – usually Uno or Skipbo, where you could have a multitude of players.

TERRI DAVIS

LIBRARY DIRECTOR

Memory of family traditions: oyster stew on Christmas Eve, then gift opening (only after the dishes were done!).  Christmas Day was at Grandma and Grandpa’s house, with a big family dinner; kids had to perform holiday songs or recitations before dinner. I still keep up the oyster stew tradition, but now use my son-in-law’s recipe, which is great!  And I let the dishwasher handle the dishes.

PATRICK DAME

REGIONAL AIRPORT DIRECTOR

Christmas has always been a grand holiday in my family. When I was younger, my grandparents would have the entire family over for dinner and gifts. After everyone arrived, the gifts were stacked half-way up the tree like building blocks. They had the most wonderful Santa suit and my grandfather played Santa every year. After the kids were done opening gifts, the adults were presented with the Surprise Box. That was their highlight of their evening and has become a tradition that has been passed to my parents. We will be passing it to our kids as they get a little older. Merry Christmas to all and Cheers to a better 2021!

NICK STROOT

HUMAN RESOURCES DIRECTOR

My fiancée and I have developed our own tradition of watching holiday movies in a specific order. On the 23rd we watch Elf, her favorite Christmas movie. On the 24th we watch National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, my favorite movie. And on Christmas day we make sure we watch A Christmas Story on TBS at least once all the way through (even though we usually watch it on and off all day long!).