Lights and action for the holiday season

Upper school performing arts groups participate in annual Santana Row tree lighting


Nicole Chen

Kinetic Krew performs at the Santana Row Tree Lighting. The Kinetic Krew routine was choreographed by dance teacher Rachelle Haun.

by Varsha Rammohan, Copy Editor

As warm jackets and boots become a common sight around the upper school campus, the holiday season makes its appearance, starting off with the annual Santana Row tree lighting ceremony on Nov. 13, which featured several of Harker’s performing arts groups.

Upper school performing arts groups Downbeat, Kinetic Krew and the junior varsity and varsity dance teams, as well as middle school groups High Voltage, Dance Fusion and Showstoppers, all performed at the event.

Santana Row celebrated its 14th tree lighting this year, where entertainment included live music, performances by the Children’s Musical Theatre and San Jose Dance Theatre and a snow shower of confetti. Upper school students performed in front of the 40-foot Christmas tree, which was lit up with colorful decorations at 7:30 p.m.

Harker’s performances began around 6 p.m. Kinetic Krew, whose routine was choreographed by upper school dance teacher Rachelle Haun, danced to a medley of Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You”, “The Chipmunk Song”, *NSYNC’s “Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays” and Britney Spears’ “ My Only Wish.”

Kinetic Krew member Alex Zhai (10) danced at this year’s tree lighting ceremony for the first time.

“The crowd was pretty engaged, and I think a couple of the audience members laughed when we were doing our kick line,” Alex said. “The tree lighting was really fun because the music and our costumes were really cheesy, and the routine itself was also really cool.”

The upper school singing group Downbeat sang “Deck the Halls”, varsity dance performed Jessie J’s “Man with the Bag” and the junior varsity team performed Kelly Clarkson’s “Underneath the Tree.”

Middle school girls’ dance team Showstoppers danced to “Hallelujah” while the boys’ team High Voltage performed to “Jingle Bell Rock.”

The teams have been preparing their routines for the tree lighting for several weeks, holding extensive practices weekly to perfect their routines. However, the unexpected fires in northern California, which have caused severe damage in the city of Paradise and neighboring towns, caused poor air conditions with an unhealthy air quality index.

All of Harker’s performing arts teams were required to wear protective masks during the tech rehearsal and took them off during the actual performance.

Audience members watched as Harker students took the stage, with Downbeat being the last performance before the tree lighting began. Junior Larissa Tyagi came to the tree lighting to support her friends on the dance team and watch the tree light up.

“I live pretty close to Santana Row, so I thought I would come down and just check it out. I really enjoyed all of the performances that Harker put on, and it looked like it ran very smoothly,” said Larissa. “I know all of the performers have been practicing for a super long time, so it was really cool to see the final result.”