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Seasonal songs brought to life at Stan Hywet

11/22/2012 - West Side Leader
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By Kathleen Folkerth

An outdoor scene at Stan Hywet is shown as seen from the Great Room.
The Music Room will host musical entertainment nightly. Shown is violinist Mary Roth, of Richfield, as husband Rob Roth looks on.
The Stan Hywet Manor House is adorned with lights and also lit by spotlights for the holiday season.
Photos: Ken Crisafi
WEST AKRON — Santa Claus’ favorite elf and timeless holiday songs will be part of Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens’ celebration of Christmas this year.

Sisters Ava, 3, and Sydney Shaker, 6, of West Akron, are shown as they enjoy meeting Mr. Jingeling at Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens during a preview event Nov. 15.
Staff and volunteers have been working since last January to bring “Sounds of the Season” to life starting Nov. 23, said Collections Manager Kim Sorboro.

“We get everything put away and start all over again,” she said. “Every year is different.”

The musical theme will be carried through 15 rooms of the Seiberling estate’s Manor House, Sorboro said. Decorators are using items from the estate’s collection, as well as bringing items in to give life to songs such as “The Twelve Days of Christmas” and “The Little Drummer Boy.”

Sorboro said the Dining Room will be decked out with “Home for the Holidays” in mind, while the Great Hall will dazzle with visuals inspired by “Winter Wonderland.”

“It’s not going to look anything like it does,” she said of the latter.

Visitors also will be able to see the nightly tree lighting, which will take place in the Courtyard at 5:30 p.m.

In addition, the Music Room will host live music every night. Among the local musicians scheduled to perform are groups from St. Sebastian Church Dec. 2, the Revere High School Choir Dec. 13, the Kingdom Worship Choir from The House of the Lord Dec. 16 and the Bath United Church of Christ Choir Dec. 23.

Sorboro said Stan Hywet last year attracted a record number of visitors thanks to the nostalgia provided by some of Akron’s animatronic Christmas figures. This year, organizers once again are bringing a part of Northeast Ohio’s Christmas past to Stan Hywet with nightly appearances by Mr. Jingeling.

The elf, who was part of Cleveland TV starting in 1956, was Santa’s favorite and as such was named “Keeper of the Keys” to Santa’s Workshop. Stan Hywet officials said Mr. Jingeling counted down the days from Thanksgiving to Christmas for Santa, and children would visit with him at Halle’s department store in Cleveland and later at Higbee’s. At the end of the visit, he gave each child a large cardboard key. Putting the key under their pillow on Christmas Eve would help them fall asleep and have good dreams while waiting for Santa to come, Stan Hywet officials said.

Mr. Jingeling will be stationed in the Corbin Conservatory in the Jingle Bells Forest, a fantastical display of giant jingle bells and upside down Christmas trees. Every child who visits Mr. Jingeling will receive a commemorative key.

Stan Hywet visitors also will have the chance to walk the grounds and enjoy more than half a million lights, Sorboro said.

Stan Hywet’s Deck the Hall will be open for visitors Nov. 23-25, 29-30 and Dec. 1-2, 6-9, 13-23 and 26-30 from 5 to 8 p.m. Tickets may be purchased by calling 330-315-3287 or online at www.stanhywet.org, or upon arrival. Prices for the house and grounds tour are $17 for adults, $7 for youths ages 6-17 and college students with identification and free for children 5 and younger with an adult. Member prices and grounds-only options also are available.

Stan Hywet is located at 714 N. Portage Path. For more information, go to www.stan hywet.org.

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