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Northern Lights celebrate with harmony

POULSBO — Those in need of Christmastime melodies were well appeased by the Northern Lights of North Kitsap High School this holiday season. The group picked up 20 holiday tunes and performed different sets at five venues this month.

Under the direction of 12-year NKHS choir director Sylvia Cauter, the all-female harmonic group started learning the Christmas songs in September. Members continued to work on right up until the eve of their final show — making for three full months of Christmas cheer.

Along with the new Christmas songs Cauter handed out each week, the girls also performed non-holiday songs Nov. 17 at the high school’s fall concert and Nov. 19 at the Elliot Bay Jazz Festival.

“(The Northern Lights) want to share their music with people,” Cauter said of the group. “That’s what we do is perform.”

The group’s first performance of the season was Dec. 9 aboard Argosy Cruise Ship’s Spirit of Seattle as part of the annual Christmas Ship boat parade.

In a fleet of about 10 boats, the Lights cruised to Seattle’s Manchester City Park where they anchored a few hundred feet from shore and sang to an audience as well as surrounding homes and the rest of the boats in the parade, said Argosy Cruise marketing director Vanessa Bloy.

The Lights were perched on the second deck of the Spirit of Seattle and their sounds were broadcast through the night air. They performed a 20-minute holiday set at Manchester Park and another at the Vashon ferry dock.

When asked what her favorite part of performing for the holiday was, Northern Lights member Erin Wood said, “Singing. I just love to sing.”

The group was back at NKHS doing just that Dec. 13 in front of a red and green crowd for the annual NKHS winter concert. Along with NK’s choral department, the Lights offered their renditions of just a few tinsel-laden tunes including a fun finale, “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus.”

From sweet, methodical slow songs like “O Come Let Us Adore Him” to snappy tunes like “Jingle Bells” and “Santa Baby,” each carol packs something different with the quintessential cheer.

“I think we bring people together,” Wood said of what the group means to the community. “Sometimes we have sing-a-longs and sometimes it’s just us singing. Either way it is fun.”

Also in North Kitsap, the choir shared its joy Dec. 14 at Poulsbo’s Masonic Temple and Dec. 15 at Liberty Shores, before its final performance Dec. 17 at Seattle’s Pacific Place.

“It’s good for the community to see these kids in a positive light,” Cauter said. “What makes this group great is they encourage each other. It’s really a team feeling.”

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