A trail of paper lanterns lined the sidewalks surrounding the Four Seasons Greenhouse and Nursery on Saturday night, guiding hundreds of guests to live music and holiday festivities at the annual Luminaria Night.
The Southwest Singers, Four Corners Community Band, Montezuma-Cortez High School Jazz Band and Montezuma-Cortez High School Choir played for the crowd inside the greenhouse as Santa and Mrs. Claus took pictures with children.
Gail Vanik, co-owner of Four Seasons, said Luminaria Night, named after small paper bags with a tea candle inside, is a tradition in the area. She and her husband, Vic, purchased the garden center back in 1998, but Luminaria Night has been going on for longer than that, she said.
“Basically it’s the garden center’s thank-you back to the community,” Vanik said.
She said the event has grown over the years. When it started years ago, just one band played.
“When we came, we wanted to make it more of a community event, so we started including bands and the high schools and the elementary schools,” Vanik said. “Every year, it’s a different assortment of music.”
The Southwest Singers, a chamber choir with eight members, kicked off the evening with a 30-minute set. Singer Cheri Valle said the group performs music from a wide range of periods.
“A mix from very old to very new,” singer Cheri Valle said.
Ruth Francisco Wilson, director of Southwest Singers, said the group dabbles in the old masters, like Mozart, as well as more recent material, including big band, Broadway show tunes and country music.
“We want to keep beautiful singing alive in Cortez,” she said.