Friday, December 19, 2003

New Holiday Song About Wauseon, Ohio's Historic Christmas Star

The first song and title track of my new holiday CD, "Christmas Star" has been released. The song is available for purchase now at Amazon, Napster, Rhapsody, CDFreedom, and eMusic.

You can click below to listen in streaming audio.


"Christmas Star" words by Kristina Austin Scarcelli and E. Fay Dyer-Austin. Music by Jason Scarcelli. Copyright 2002 Erudite Music BMI, Blind Dog Bass Music BMI, and Rhymester, Ink.

Recorded, Mixed, and Mastered at Expressions of Grace Studio, Dearborn, Michigan. Arranged, Produced, and Engineered by Jason Arcega.

Kristina Austin Scarcelli - Vocals
Jason Arcega - Piano, Electric Guitar, Percussion
Aaron Jones - Acoustic Guitar
Jason Scarcelli - Bass
Dan Cannon - Drums
Wendy Arcega - Violin, Viola, Cello
Rachel Arcega - Violin
Wendy Arcega, Rachel Arcega, Joshua Arcega, Caleb Arcega - Children's Chorus

(Verse 1)
Fulton Street is lined with lights
But none of them shines so bright
As the one on the south end of the street
People come from all around
Led by the star that lights the town
To the place where hope and memories meet.

(Chorus)
Bringing in the joy of Christmas
Lighting up the town so bright and clear
If I live to be one hundred
I'll still hold the memories of it dear
And though time passes on
No matter how far I roam
There's a bright and shining star
That leads me home.

(Verse 2)
Each Christmas day I hit the road
Heading south through driving snow
Can't let the miles keep us apart
Back in the city, I leave my cares
A quiet peace awaits me there
In that little town you'll take to heart.

(Repeat Chorus)

(Bridge)
As we ponder the mystery of heritage and history
I've found, through every Christmas snow
No matter where I go, there's one thing that I know ...

(Repeat Chorus and tag)

This Christmas, in the lovely country town of Wauseon, Ohio, a giant, lighted star shines throughout the village, as it has done every December since 1939. Generation after generation, the Wauseon Star has served as the focal point of the town's Christmas festivities and never ceases to bring cheer to the hearts of both young and old.

According to a publication by the Fulton County Historical Society, the Wauseon Christmas Star was built in 1939 by members of the Toledo Edison Doherty Club. At that time, it was mounted on the Toledo Edison Building on Depot Street and later moved to the Edison Building on Fulton Street.

Local history tells that the Wauseon Christmas Star outshined all the other Christmas decorations in town and so it was moved to its present location at the south end of Fulton Street near South Park.

It was said that the railroad trains, which ordinarily sped through town, would slow down when schedules permitted so that passengers could get a peek at the famous Wauseon Star. Because the star attracted so much attention, it became the envy of neighboring communities, who felt that Toledo Edison ought to erect similar decorations in their towns.

However, in 1941, the Edison company announced that it would no longer cover the cost of annually erecting and dismantling the star. Wauseon City Council came to the rescue and acquired the star and, despite budget cuts and economic downturns, the Wauseon Christmas Star has made its magical reappearance each holiday season ever since.

The 30-foot Wauseon Christmas Star has 226 light bulbs ranging in intensity from 15 to 200 watts and features a 10-foot open Bible reading "Peace on Earth, Goodwill Toward Men".

The Wauseon Christmas Star has had several locations during its existence. Here it is in about 1940 in its second location, on the former Toledo Edison office on Fulton Street. The 70-year-old decoration is now located at South Park. Image courtesy of The Fulton County Expositor.

The song "Christmas Star" is a musical tribute to the Wauseon Christmas Star and a town unique in its steadfast traditions and sincere appreciation for the simplest joys of Christmas time. Performed by vocalist Kristina Austin Scarcelli, the song is very much a family effort with lyrics written by Kristina and her mother E. Fay Dyer-Austin, music composed by Kristina's husband Jason Scarcelli, and many of the instruments and background vocals performed by the Arcega family. The song was also produced by the Arcegas in their Expressions of Grace recording studio.

A native of suburban metropolitan Detroit, Kristina Austin Scarcelli resided in Wauseon, Ohio during her young adult years, while she attended The University of Toledo. She represented Wauseon, Ohio as the 50th Anniversary Wauseon Homecoming Queen in 1984, three local Miss America titles including Miss Northwestern Ohio, and, eventually, as Fourth Runner-Up to Miss Ohio 1989. While she has since returned to Michigan, Kristina still visits Wauseon whenever possible and she proudly considers it her second home. A part of her family's annual holiday tradition involves a road trip to Wauseon to visit friends and family and to see the Christmas Star.

"The Christmas Star is one of my earliest memories of Wauseon," Kristina says. "When my family moved to northwest Ohio right after I graduated from high school, it was pretty hard for me to leave my hometown and all of my friends."

"I remember that it was Christmas time when I first came to Wauseon and my Dad took me for a drive down Fulton Street just after sunset to see the Wauseon Star. For some reason, the star and the story my Dad told me about its history really endeared me to Wauseon and immediately this new town felt like a place that I could call home."

"Now that I've moved back to metro Detroit, I always look forward to escaping from the stress of my everyday routine and returning to Wauseon for a quiet and peaceful holiday with my family," she adds. "And I never fail to take at least one trip down Fulton Street to look at the Wauseon Star. With everything changing so rapidly around me, the Christmas Star is a constant; something I can always take comfort in from year to year."

"All of the fancy, big city holiday light shows can't compare to the simple beauty of that star and the wonderfully happy memories it brings to mind. Christmas has become so commercial and so hectic and it's little things like the Wauseon Christmas Star that remind me of the true meaning of the holiday. It's just one reason that Wauseon is a very special place to come home to."

The Wauseon Christmas Star as it appeared in 2002. Image courtesy of Edd Austin.

It is obvious that Wauseon's Christmas Star has touched Kristina's life as evidenced by these words from the song: "Fulton Street is lined with lights, but none of them shines so bright as the one on the south end of the street ... back in the city, I leave my cares, a quiet peace awaits me there in that little town you'll take to heart ..."

An appreciation for the Wauseon Star has also spanned the generations in Kristina's own family. Wauseon's holiday traditions were the subject of the poem "Christmas in a Small Town" penned in the mid-1990s by Kristina's mother, E. Fay Dyer-Austin, a poet with several compilations and two published books and 25-year resident of Wauseon. "Christmas in a Small Town" was featured on the PBS television special "Christmastown USA" in 2002. Kristina credits her mother's poem as the inspiration the "Christmas Star" song.

Below, you can listen to E. Fay Dyer-Austin's poem "Christmas in a Small Town" as recited by Ken Conrad, television host with WTVI - Public Broadcasting Television in Charlotte, North Carolina.


Fay's poetry books can be purchased on Amazon.com.

Sources:
"Christmas Star Defies Town Budget: Wauseon Yule Display Shines On Through Ups And Downs". The Toledo Blade. December 24, 1958.
"Wauseon Christmas Star to be Repaired". The Toledo Blade. May 28, 2000.