When Swedish pioneers immigrated to early Merrill, they not only brought their treasured heirlooms and family recipes, they also brought the centuries-old tradition of honoring Santa Lucia, the saint of light and growth and the Swedish harbinger of the Christmas season.
When the Merrill Historical Society was gifted the former Bethlehem Lutheran Church, it seemed fitting to honor the congregation’s Swedish roots. Thus began the Society’s annual Santa Lucia concert.
This year, the celebration will be at 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 12, at the MHS Heritage Center, 100 E. Third St.
The program will feature favorite Merrill musicians followed by the appearance of Santa Lucia, adorned with a radiant crown of light. This year, Erin Murray, a Kate Goodrich Elementary School student, will portray Santa Lucia.
The Santa Lucia celebration will open with acapella selections by Merrill High School’s Vocal Jayz under the direction of Jim Bjorklund, and then vocal solos by Bjorklund. Harp and violin accompaniment will be provided by Carol and Dave Finanger, who will perform some favorite holiday duets. To close the concert, Helene Ader on the piano and Pam Nickel on the organ will be entertaining us with a few duets.
Come and get in the Christmas spirit. The public is invited to this hour of music followed by refreshments.
Admission to the concert is free; however, seating is limited and advance tickets are required. Tickets are available from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Tuesday through Friday at the Merrill Historical Society office, 102 E. Third St., call 715-536-5652 for more information.