WARREN - Although there are many more nights before Christmas, the W.D. Packard Concert Band couldn't be stopped from jingle bell rockin' the Packard Music Hall Sunday.
The band's annual, free Christmas concert produced glowing reviews from those who attended.
''It was great, very festive,'' said Megan Workley of Warren, who attended with her daughter, Natalie, 6, and Natalie's grandmother, Gigi Abraham of Howland.
Tribune Chronicle / Ron Selak Jr.
Natalie Workley, 6, of Warren, visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus after the W.D. Packard Concert Band’s annual Christmas concert Sunday at the Packard Music Hall. She told Santa she wants a pair of roller skates that light up pink and purple and promised to leave him cookies. Santa suggested, however, that she leave a steak. Natalie seemed to really enjoy the concert, too, she ‘‘directed the band all the way through,’’ said her grandmother, Gigi Abraham.
''Natalie directed the band all the way through,'' said Gigi after the hour-long show and after Natalie sat on the lap of Santa Claus, who made an appearance at the end.
Workley said her family regularly attends the Christmas concert, as well as other events put on by the band, like the Memorial Day and Fourth of July shows. ''I don't think the public realizes what they have here at the Packard,'' Workley said.
And by the way, Natalie asked Santa Claus for a pair of roller skates that light up pink and purple, and promised the jolly big man to leave a plate of cookies. Santa, with a twinkle in his eye, suggested she leave a steak.
Elena Loomis of Warren, there with her two sisters, daughter and two grandchildren, said it's been some time since she attended the concert.
What she liked most: ''I think the singing and the dancing, the kids dancing. The little girl that did the vocals, Cortney MacKay, she was amazing.''
MacKay, a 12-year-old sixth grader at Hubbard Middle School, made her Packard Band debut at the concert, singing ''Christmas on Broadway'' and ''I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas.'' She also joined Dana Victor, a frequent guest vocalist, on ''Yes Virginia, There is a Santa Claus,'' and participated in the performance of ''We Wish You a Merry Christmas.''
Thomas Groth, executive director of the Packard Band and saxophone player, said the event is probably the 58th for the band, which coincides with the 58th anniversary of the band in October.
Angela Slomcheck of Newton Falls, said her daughter, Faith, 6, dances at D.C. Dancers, one of the groups participating in the event Sunday, leading to their attendance and that of Faith's grandmother, Joyce Greathouse, also of Newton Falls.
So, will Faith be dancing at a future Packard Band Christmas concert? ''Hopefully, yes,'' said Angela, who added that Faith had said during Sunday's performance that she wanted to dance in it.
Other participating groups were Studio L Dancers, "Sleigh Ride"; Jill's Danceshop, "We Wish You a Calypso Christmas"; James Dance Centre, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer"; and Jeannette's School of Dance, "Holiday Treat."
Victor performed ''O Holy Night'' and played the role of Mrs Claus for a reading of Clement Clarke Moore's ''The Night Before Christmas.'' Stephen L. Gage led the band and Bradley J. Holko was master of ceremonies.