‘A thrill of hope at Christmastime’


On Dec. 7, the Village of Malverne hosted its 26th annual tree lighting ceremony for kids of all ages, showcasing the best food and entertainment that local merchants and residents had to offer all night.

The event featured performances by the James A. Dever Ensemble, Just Duckie Barbershop Quartet, the Goliard Singers, the Banjo Rascals, Classic Six RYTHMX Chorus, the Bridge Church Choir, Joyful Noise Children’s Choir, the Valley Stream High School Downbeats, The Verge, the Malverne School of Music Ensemble, the Malverne Community Theatre and dancers from the Tap-to-Pointe Dance Center. Visitors also enjoyed face painting, horse and buggy rides and hayrides and a live nativity scene.

Michael Cunningham, 34, and his daughter Bridget, 3, always look forward to roasting marshmallows together over fire barrels every year.

“[Malverne] gives off such an awesome ‘small-town America’ feel,” said Cunningham, who has come to the event for the past three years.

To kick off the festivities, Mayor Patti McDonald, Deputy Mayor Joseph Hennessy and Gail Wakefield, co-chair of the holiday lighting committee, welcomed guests in an opening ceremony.

“It’s one of those traditions that makes Malverne so special,” McDonald said. “Friends, family and community — that’s what’s most important.”

When it came time to light the tree, Malverne resident and McDonald’s mother Sheila Norris flipped the switch while the crowd cheered in awe.

Reverend Thomas Carpino of the Malverne Bible Church and Father Brett Crompton of the Church of the Intercessor conducted the Blessing of the Creche, soon followed by Benjamin Truncale and Nicole Dalto who sang classic Christmas hymns.

Pastor Dan Quagliata of the Bridge Church recognized those who passed away this year, including Davison Avenue School student Alex Huertas and Malverne volunteer fireman Charles Bruce, and prayed for their families.

“We’ve weathered some tragedies this past year that have brought us closer together,” Quagliata said. “I believe this is why we experience the thrill of hope at Christmastime — we are a village that walks forward and a community that experiences hope, joy and peace.”