Each year the Austin Green Team holds a tree-lighting ceremony at their Memorial Garden, located at Washington and Laramie, where children sing Christmas carols and participate in holiday activities. Referred to as “little sprouts,” the children are being trained by Austin Green Team members to carry on their work in the future.

Although rainy weather last Saturday prevented the outdoor treelighting, it didn’t stop the singing of Christmas carols inside God All Nation Pentecostal Church at 44 N. Laramie across the street from the Green Team’s Memorial Garden.

Led by instructor LaKesha Kneeland, the one song that always draws lots of laughs and inspires audience participation is “The 12 Days of Christmas.” The audience was divided into sections, one for each of the 12 days. When Kneeland pointed to each group, they would sing their “day.”

Needless to say, some groups remembered their “five golden rings,” while others fumbled their “partridge in a pear tree.”

The children also recited “The Birth of Jesus.” Each child had an individual verse to say. Afterward, they all sang “The Little Lord Jesus,” followed by “Jingle Bell Rock,” accompanied by the Exodus drummers.

After the children’s singing and a performance by the Exodus Drum & Bugle Corp., hot dogs and snacks were served to everyone. Working the kitchen this year was Irma Ferba, Cora Williams and Juline McClinton. The ladies also passed out gift bags to all the children attending.

Getting things started, Vice President George Lawson told his usual array of homespun stories and jokes. President Mary Peery welcomed everyone and encouraged people to join the Green Team because their participation is always appreciated.

“Working with our children is a gift,” she said, “and each year they can’t wait until this event arrives. Each year the children start calling their instructor LaKesha Kneeland as early as June, to make sure there will be a Christmas party for them.”

For the last two years, the Exodus Drum & Bugle Corp., under the leadership of Jerome Altman, has participated in the Green Team’s events throughout the year.

Exodus is located on the West Side (3350 W. Jackson Blvd.), is growing rapidly and includes girls who perform as majorettes. Young people interested can call 773-265-1900, 708-833-9751 (cell), 773-265-6082 (fax); or check the website: www.exodusdrumcorps.com.