“The Singing Christmas Tree” Performs at PAA Fundraising Banquet

July 01, 2007 | Liesl Vistaunet

Portland Adventist Academy (PAA) featured the famous Portland Singing Christmas Tree (PSCT) choir in a fundraising banquet for the school's scholarship fund. The PSCT is a volunteer choir of 350 members, 70 of which performed at the banquet. "This is the first time the group has performed outside of the holiday season in over a decade," said Linda Hill, PAA assistant development director. The PSCT is one of Portland's oldest holiday traditions. They're celebrating their 45th anniversary this Christmas. "We want to bring people to Christ—it's our mission," said Jim Boehner, PSCT director.

The PSCT went outside their holiday repertoire for the PAA fundraising banquet, entitled "Growing God's Next Generation." The proceeds from the event benefited the Portland Adventist Academy Student Scholarship (PAASS) program.

Richard Fenn, master of ceremonies for the event, interviewed Ian Billinowich, a graduating senior, and his parents John and Kelly who benefit from PAASS. Also interviewed was incoming freshman Melanie Heffel and her family who will depend on PAASS during her years at PAA.

A surprise interview with a Singing Christmas Tree member topped the evening. Anne (Nicholson) Bandy was introduced as an alumnus of Portland Union Academy (PUA) from the class of 1962. She and her four brothers and sisters are products of Adventist education. "From elementary school all the way to Walla Walla College," said Bandy. "But there were five of us, and that was a lot of money. There was one year when all five of us had to go to public school, and it was not a good experience. It was a relief to come back to PUA."

PAASS helped more than 40 students during the 2006–07 school year. The total sum they qualified for exceeded $200,000. "This school year we were able to cover about 25 percent of those needs," reports Dan Patchin, director of development. "This banquet was somewhat of a kick start for the 2007-08 school year, and we were blessed through it."