Colorado Springs Military Newspaper Group

Fort Carson Mountaineer

Annual tree lighting, holiday concert: Community kicks off season with festivities

By Pfc. Kelsey Simmons | 14th Public Affairs Detachment

FORT CARSON, Colo. — The 4th Infantry Division and Fort Carson kicked off the holiday season with its annual tree lighting ceremony, held at the William “Bill” Reed Special Events Center (SEC) Dec. 6, 2019, followed by the 4th Inf. Div. Band’s holiday concert at McMahon Auditorium Dec. 7, 2019.

A crowd gathered at the SEC, while Maj. Gen. Matthew W. McFarlane, commanding general, 4th Inf. Div. and Fort Carson, flipped the switch to showcase the many lights that illuminated the tree. The event served as a fun festivity for many in the community, as there were crafts and trees handed out for the Trees for Troops event, in addition to the tree lighting.

The entire weekend was packed with events for everyone, including a “Catch Me if You Can 5K” and the band’s performance called “Generations.”

The show combined lively as well as somber songs with comedic and heart-wrenching skits to showcase the range of emotions felt between Soldiers and their loved ones during the holidays.

“‘Generations’ is a holiday concert built around two main characters — a grandfather and his granddaughter — and their Army experiences,” said Staff Sgt. Katherine Bolcar, a singer in the 4th Inf. Div. Band. “It tells the story of a legacy of service through music, stories and humor.”

The show followed a Soldier who missed his significant other during the holiday season as he fought in World War II.

They wrote letters back and forth in the form of Christmas songs while the depth of their anguish and love was heightened by the orchestral music behind them.

As time passed by, the Soldier grew into an elderly veteran, now with a granddaughter who followed in his footsteps by enlisting in the Army.

The two hilariously communicated through video chat as they expressed their love for one another, and how much they would both be missed during the holidays.

“Christmas is such a good time for Family and friends, and sometimes you can’t have that as a Soldier,” said Spc. Jessica Hall, a flutist in the 4th Inf. Div. Band. “Maybe if people are missing their Family and friends, at least coming to a Christmas concert will make them feel a little closer to home with some familiar tunes that will resonate and touch the heart a little bit.”

The concert featured a variety of music genres such as swing, rock, country and holiday standards.

The show was written and designed by Bolcar, who was inspired by tales from her own grandparents who lived through World War II.

Her grandfather served in the 29th Infantry Division based out of Fort Belvoir, Virginia.

“The video scenes were shot in my basement and parts of the letter are taken from letters between my grandparents,” said Bolcar. “Other props belonged to both of my grandfathers.”

The audience showed how much it enjoyed the concert with standing ovations after many of the performances.

“It seemed like they brought their hearts to the concert, and that definitely made it feel a lot more enjoyable,” said spectator Spc. Cameron Virt, a nodal network systems operator-maintainer with Signal, Intelligence and Sustainment Company, Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, 4th Inf. Div. “To see how much they moved and danced showed how much they care about what they do.”

Annual tree lighting, holiday concert: Community kicks off season with festivities
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