All is bright in Sterling Heights! 


UAIS Choir

After a lengthy hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the 44th annual Sterling Christmas finally returned to Sterling Heights on December 5th, 2021. From ice skating to the tree lighting to Christmas carols sung by our own UAIS choir class, Sterling Christmas was a hit once again with Sterling Heights residents and UAIS students. 

While many things have changed within the past 44 years, the beloved caroling found at every Sterling Christmas has remained a treasured tradition; however, this was the first time the UAIS choir performed at this event. From “Silent Night” tot “Jingle Bells”, the myriad of Christmas carols makes choosing a handful for a performance seem like an impossible task. Julie Syler, UAIS Senior and soprano, emphasized the difficulty of choosing a set of songs that the entire choir can agree upon based on familiarity and ability levels.

“We tried to choose festive songs that would get everyone excited for the holidays,” Syler said. “Since we all had our own favorite songs due to personal experiences, there were some debates, but I’m really happy with what we ended up with because the crowd seemed to really enjoy it.”

Caroling may be seen as just an impromptu activity at holiday parties, but for performers, there is a lot of planning that occurs behind the scenes. From picking songs to arranging the set to finding places for everyone to be seen, the UAIS choir was in for a real challenge when it came to preparing an entire performance for not only their friends and family, but for all of Sterling Heights and its city council. As always, UAIS students persevered and delivered a heart-warming performance at Sterling Christmas despite the freezing temperature.

According to Cait Lopata, UAIS Senior and alto, anticipating weather conditions contributed to their success.       

“I liked when we practiced outside, so we would be able to get somewhat used to the cold,” said Lopata. “However, it was much windier during our actual performance, which was awful.”

 The community aspect of UAIS could easily be seen at Sterling Christmas as fellow UAIS students made sure to support the UAIS choir by attending their performance. Joey Perez, a UAIS Senior, supported the entire choir as well as his friends, Julie Syler and Cait Lopata, during their festive performance.

 “I enjoyed being able to watch my friends perform in real life for the first time in a while,” said Perez. “The last time I saw them perform was IB Music Night during my sophomore year, so it’s been a while.”

Even if one isn’t particularly a fan of Christmas carols, there are a variety of other activities at Sterling Christmas. For example, the Farmers Market Pavilion was officially turned into the Dodge Park Ice Rink on December 1st, just days prior to Sterling Christmas. For the younger demographic, Santa was available to meet with countless children who had the opportunity tell him of their wishes. For those who love their fauna, Sterling Christmas also offered a petting farm with included pony rides. Peter Wathen, UAIS Senior and Boy Scout, is known for his love for animals. Despite his initial motive of attending Sterling Christmas to support UAIS choir, he soon realized that the petting farm was his calling.

 “It was cool to see how many people gathered this year for this event,” said Wathen. “The city council also did an excellent job of having a variety of activities like talking to Santa and a petting farm full of sheep.”

After a lengthy first semester, Sterling Christmas has proven to be an excellent stress reliever for all UCS students from kindergarteners who got to meet Santa to seniors who got to pet sheep. While many of the activities that could be found at Sterling Christmas are no longer available, the festive lights and ice-skating rink will be available for Sterling Heights residents to enjoy until spring.