A chorus of soft singing rose gently into a cold-for-Napa Tuesday evening at the Queen of the Valley Medical Center, as the Napa High School Chamber Choir began a warm-up of Christmas carols.
“O come, O come, Emmanuel,” they began.
“And ransom captive Israel,” they sang, standing in a circle around new choir director Duncan Cooper.
The more than two dozen singers were at the Queen as part of the annual tree lighting ceremony. The hospital’s signature evergreen was already decked out in ropes of lights, awaiting the official flipping of the switch and grand reveal.
Meanwhile, Santa and Mrs. Claus were making their rounds throughout the hospital, including the emergency department, visiting both staff and patients.
Alane Christensen of Napa brought her great nephew to the tree lighting. Her sister works at the Queen, said Christensen.
“This is awesome,” she said. “I just love all the Christmas holiday” festivities, “and it’s so pretty with the fall leaves” on the trees around the hospital entrance.
“It’s really fun and a great way to start the season,” said Alison Mazzanti of Napa, as she listened to the Christmas carols.
Sandra Rossomando of Napa used to bring her own children to the tree lighting, she said. Now that her daughter has her own family, they accompanied her to the ceremony this year.
“It’s beautiful,” Rossomando said of the tree. “It’s nice to see the tradition continues. It makes it extra special” that they read “The Christmas Story,” she added.
Landon Bates of Queen of the Valley Medical Center read “The Christmas Story” and Jacque Maples, director of patient experience, led a blessing.
Queen engineer Frank Puch was in charge of the wrapping the tree in lights.
“It’s Christmas time. It makes me feel good that I’m doing something good for the hospital, the patients and the community,” Puch said.
The LED lights are re-installed on the 40-foot tree every year, he said. If they left the lights up year-round, the sun would bake the wires and ruin the lights.
During the off season, the several thousand lights are carefully stored in barrels to avoid creating a twisted mess.
“We gotta take care of them,” he said.
Puch and his team were also responsible for setting up a life-sized nativity scene near the Christmas tree.
Napa resident Stella Borzoni, 11, the daughter of Queen employee Jennifer Gosztyla-Borzoni, has had the honor of placing baby Jesus into the manger for the past six years. This year, she was accompanied by Addie Graf, 10, who will be taking over Borzoni’s role.
“I’m glad to pass it on to Addie,” she said. It’s been an “amazing” experience.
The tree will remain lit at night until Epiphany — 12 days after Christmas — or Jan. 6.