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December 06, 1990|MARY ANN SWISSLER

To thousands of San Gabriel Valley residents, the Singing Christmas Tree is as much a part of their holiday celebration as tearing through the paper wrapping the gifts under the tree on Christmas morning.

This is the 22nd year for the popular annual concert produced by the Bethany Church of Alhambra.

An 80-person choir, Voice of Praise Singers, forms the branches of the seven-tier, 30-foot tree. The 1 1/2-hour show's visual impact is enhanced by 1,500 twinkling Christmas lights.

A 30-piece orchestra helps in this holiday serenade that features classical Christmas songs such as "For Unto Us a Child is Born" and "Gloria," as well as "Joy to the World," "O Come All Ye Faithful" and "Hark the Herald Angels Sing." Many of the compositions have been rearranged and given a modern tempo, says conductor, producer and director Paul Wright.

For children in the audience, there's a puppet show titled "A Carol of the Missing Light."

The Singing Christmas Tree performs at the San Gabriel Civic Auditorium, 320 S. Mission Drive, at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 3 and 8 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $8. For information, call Bethany Church at (818) 282-6109, or stop by at 21 N. Olive Ave. in Alhambra. Tickets can also be purchased through the auditorium by calling (818) 308-2868.

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