This year’s Stockton Sparkles was launched in spectacular fashion last night with the return of the ‘singing Christmas tree’ and a whole host of evening entertainment.
Around 60 vocalists and musicians from across the Borough and beyond gathered in Stockton Town Centre to perform an eclectic mix of Christmas classics, songs from Sister Act and a special rendition of This Little Light of Mine which incorporated a countdown to the lights’ switch-on.
West End actress and former Stockton Riverside College student Jess Daley topped the singing Christmas tree alongside Paul Sudlow from popular North-East funk and soul cover band, Funk Collective.
The crowd was also entertained by skilled acrobats Photon who took to the stage to show off their circus skills in a unique and magical show, while Orkestra Del Sol sprinkled festive cheer with their globally inspired brass music.
The Christmas lights were switched on by Santa and the Mayor of Stockton, Councillor Ian Dalgarno, who arrived in style on a colourful rickshaw driven by theatre artists Pif Paf.
Twins Amelia and Gracie Wilson, aged seven, joined the pair on stage to countdown and press the switch-on button.
The Mayor said: “The Sparkles launch was such a colourful and creative evening - it was certainly an experience to travel on Pif Paf’s Flycyle rickshaw and arrive through the crowds of people who had gathered for the switch-on of the lights. I was delighted to join so many residents to mark the start of Stockton Sparkles.”
Members of some of the region’s best known bands and community choirs created the unique show with Wildcats of Kilkenny frontman, Mike McGrother and Musical Director, Norton born professional pianist Danny McCormack. The evening culminated in a snowy, sparkling sing-a-long of Christmas songs and carols.
Cabinet Member for Arts, Leisure and Culture, Councillor Norma Wilburn, added: “What a fantastic start to Stockton Sparkles. The return of the singing Christmas tree made it a memorable event and it was lovely to see so many people singing along, enjoying the Christmas market and really getting into the festive spirit. We have plenty more wonderful Sparkles events and entertainment in store over the coming weeks so make sure you come along to see what’s on offer.”
For full details of the Stockton Sparkles programme, visit www.stockton.gov.uk/stocktonsparkles