Lynne and Reg Dickson have celebrated their final year with the annual Light the Lights ceremony at Rockwood Lodge, after nearly three decades of organizing and conducting the music for the event.
“We have truly loved every minute of it,” Lynne told Coast Reporter of the “very bittersweet” end of their relationship with Light the Lights, as of this year’s Nov. 30 edition of the event.
“It’s time for a change,” Reg said. “It’s been 30 years.” Added Lynne, “We’re going to semi-retire. There needs to be a chance for somebody else to do it.”
The event, in which Christmas lights are turned on at the lodge at the end of Cowrie Street just after 5 p.m. while seasonal music and carols are sung on the building’s porch and stairs, is a key part of the Sechelt Downtown Business Association’s Festival of Lights, which since 2010 has included the downtown parade of light-bedecked cars and trucks.
The Dicksons started looking after the music for Light the Lights in the late 1980s and for many years have also managed adult and children’s choirs and singing groups such as Music Makers, which they plan to continue doing. Lynne still gets nostalgic when talking about the Christmas music tradition.
“Sometimes I look out and see one of my students from years ago in the audience and I know their children are taking music lessons with our daughter, Sara [Munson, of Music Makers],” Lynne said. “It just goes round and round. It’s been wonderful. This community is so amazing.”
The couple said they learned how big-hearted the community could be in 1989, the only year the couple weren’t involved in Light the Lights, after a family member was injured in an accident. “This community came forward like you wouldn’t believe and we were taken care of,” Lynne said. “Ever since then, we just give back.”
A mainstay of the Rockwood ritual is a singalong of the tune Light the Lights, which the Dicksons wrote and recorded in the 1990s. They sold CDs of Christmas tunes, including that song, with proceeds going to raise funds for the extensive repairs the lodge required at the time. All the tunes are still available for free download at www.soundcloud.com, Lynne noted.
As to who will take over the musical side of Light the Lights, the Dicksons have a few suggestions. “I’ll happily go to a meeting with the business association and give them names and numbers,” Lynne said.