As many Frederick theater-goers know, one of the things we look forward to most is decorating for the holidays. Walking into the warmly lit theater lobby, one of the first spectacles to be seen is the Weinberg Christmas tree, grandly adorned with decorations. Sparkling from flashy ornaments and twinkling lights, it’s impossible to avoid getting in the Christmas spirit at the sight of it! For many, it has become a part of the family tradition to take a photo together in front of the tree when seeing The Nutcracker or A Christmas Carol. Several years ago, this wasn’t the case! Box Office Manager Jef Cliber shared with us how it came to be:
We once had a tree that was very old. It was dusty, with entire limbs missing, and did not have very many ornaments. It was coming apart towards the end of its long tenure here. During the performances of the Nutcracker in 2004, I had the good fortune of taking the picture of a family in front of our old tree. The family consisted of a grandmother, a daughter, and a granddaughter. They explained they were three generations worth of Nutcracker ballet performers. This picture meant a lot to them and I was happy to oblige… But that tree really bothered me. All our patrons came dressed up for the holidays and everyone seemed to want a picture in our lobby to mark the occasion.
Now, once upon a time, I used to decorate for a living. 36 wreaths, 22 Christmas trees, 3 massive fiberglass and wire “modern trees”, countless table cloths and banners, a monster of Christmas tree that measured 16’ – and that’s not counting the work for the Hallmark shop or Department 56. Yes indeed, I used to start decorating for the holidays in September for a 40,000 square foot department store. And I did it for nearly 5 years. That’s enough Christmas decorations for a lifetime…for most people.
I couldn’t let that tree go. So, I petitioned the powers that be to purchase a new tree. A new tree came, and I set about to making it “come to life”. I wanted to give back to our patrons that came for the holidays. I wanted them to have a fantastic backdrop to their holiday visit to the Weinberg Center. Something about it just seemed to beg for red and gold decorations with white lights all aglow. These days, as soon as it goes up, the patrons love to get their picture in front of that tree. It’s a perk of my job, getting to give back to our holiday visitors. Just doing my part to spread some holiday cheer! As of last year, we have a new tree (this one grew 4’ over the last one!) and some other new decorations throughout the hall to boot!