Toasts, blessings, goodies, cigars, and a visit from Santa Claus made for an evening of holiday memories.
On Sunday, December 3rd, 2017, the Dannebohm residence was full of holiday cheer with 77 guests on hand for the annual Christmas reception. Attendees were greeted by the warmth, crackle, and smell of the fireplace and a home adorned for the holidays with 8 Christmas trees, 5 Nativity scenes, hundreds of feet or ornately decorated garland, 4 wreaths, 7 Santa Claus paintings, and numerous Christmas “accessories “ including elves, snowmen, poinsettias, and porcelain trees.
The 2017 theme for the invitation-only Christmas celebration was, “Who Says There Ain’t No Santa Claus,” taken from a song title of the same name featured in the Broadway Musical, “Flahooley,” the lyrics of which were written by “Yip” Harburg.
Edgar Yipsel “Yip” Harburg was a popular song lyricist who worked with many well-known composers. He wrote the lyrics to the standards “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?” (with Jay Gorney), “April in Paris,” and “It’s Only a Paper Moon,” as well as all of the songs in The Wizard of Oz, including “Over the Rainbow.” He was known for the social commentary of his lyrics, as well as his liberal sensibilities. He championed racial and gender equality and union politics.
Among the honored guests at this year’s reception were two of Yip Harburg’s great-grandchildren: Aaron Harburg and his brother, David Harburg.
Aaron Harburg is currently producing a documentary entitled, “Song of the Century,” which focuses on Yip’s work on, “Over the Rainbow.”
David Harburg is an Ann Arbor, Michigan based recording artist who has been working on revitalizing the songs by his great grandfather. David is hoping to bring some of “Yip” Harburg’s work into the 21st century, as well as share some works of his own.
Each year, a charity is chosen and those on the guest list are asked to bring a monetary donation in the form of a check. This year’s charity, at the request of the Aaron and David Harburg, was Children Waiting Everywhere, a 100% volunteer, 501(c)(3) foundation dedicated to serving our brothers and sisters around the globe by sharing blessings and empowering them through education and self-employment. The organization serves one community, one family, and one child at a time, contributing to projects in microeconomics, education, and health. They are building up the lives of children waiting everywhere.
Three toasts were offered at the reception: one representing the past, one the present, and one the future. A nod to the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future who visited Ebenezer Scrooge in Charles Dickens’, “A Christmas Carol.”
Larry Hatteberg offered a toast to the past, reminding guests that while we cannot turn back the hands of time and correct our mistakes, we can honor the memories – people, places, and things that bring us holiday joy.
A Kansas legend, Hatteberg began his television career with KAKE-TV on May 23, 1963. Larry has received more than 130 local, state and national awards for news photography and reporting. His “Hatteberg’s People” video series has profiled over a thousand Kansans since its inception in 1974. He grew up in Winfield, Kansas, and graduated from Winfield High School. He attended Kansas State Teachers College and Wichita State University before starting at KAKE TV, where he worked for 51 years before his last newscast on Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014. Today, Hatteberg hosts his classic segment, “Hatteberg’s People” in a new half-hour show on KPTS. Each week Hatteberg presents his classic stories about interesting and extraordinary Kansans and then updates us on where those people are now.
Ryan Jay offered a toast to the present, which reminded guests to celebrate the here and now. We cannot change the past, we cannot predict the future. However, at that moment, in that time and place, guests were creating special holiday memories.
Jay is one of America’s most popular nationally syndicated film critics and Oz historians. Ryan has worked as a television producer of major pop culture and entertainment programming for networks such as Bravo, Showtime, MTV, VH1, Nickelodeon, TLC, and even The Jerry Springer Show. In addition to his work as a film critic, Ryan emcees numerous events nationwide.
Sierra Scott offered a toast to the future, which reminded guests that in the days, weeks, months, and years ahead, we should strive to live each day with the same joy we experience on Christmas. Guests were reminded to be generous in kindness, patience, and love toward all of humankind.
Scott is the current Ms. Woman United States titleholder. Ms. Scott is a popular TV news anchor with 29 years of broadcast experience. She is the former co-host of “The Brett and Sierra Show” and “It’s All Good with Sierra Scott”. She now hosts “Positively Kansas” on KPTS. An award winning journalist, Ms. Scot is an alumnus of Leadership Kansas and serves on the board of eight charity organizations. She was Miss Missouri 1989. Sierra’s documentary on Darfur called “Destination Darfu, the Untold Story of Peace and Hope” premiered at the United Nations and was screed at the Toronto Film Festival.
The “adult-only” celebration included a visit from Santa Claus, an opportunity for “grown-ups” to re-connect with their inner-child. The garage of the Dannebohm residence was transformed into a winter wonderland, complete with Santa’s Workshop, where guests received a “grown up” goody bag and photo with Kris Kringle.
In addition to a festive Yuletide celebration, the evening served as an opportunity to officially bless the Nativity Scene on display at the residence through the holidays. The Reverend Robert Schremmer, Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia for the Catholic Diocese of Dodge City, presided over the ceremony. Schremmer was assisted by the Reverend Canon Phyllis Flory from the Episcopal Diocese of Western Kansas. Dan Stremel served as lector. Accompanied by Curtis Sander on the organ, the ceremony began with guests singing “Adeste Fidelis” and concluded with guests singing “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” and “Joy to the World.” In addition to blessing the Nativity scene, Father Schremmer and Reverend Flory also dedicated the newest piece in Dannebohm’s art collection, “Regina Angelorum,” by artist Erika Molina Poling. The painting is a triptych consisting of 3 panels, each 24” x 48” depicting Mary, Queen of the Angels. For the dedication ceremony, Aaron Harburg chanted the “Salve Regina” in Latin and David and Tihomira Green sang a beautiful rendition of “Mary, Did You Know.”
Guests were treated to homemade Christmas candies including: peanut butter bon-bons, cherry mash, fudge, and peanut clusters. They also enjoyed homemade Christmas cookies and other delicious snacks. Live holiday music by Curtis Sander and David Harburg added a special cheer to the festive environment.
Tobacconist DC Hannah from Salina Cigar Company hand rolled cigars for the event. Hannah’s cigar rolling station was a popular spot as guests watched him meticulously create cigars of outstanding quality. The cold winter air didn’t stop cigar loving guests from taking advantage of the opportunity to enjoy a complimentary, freshly rolled cigar around the fire pit in the back gardens.
Casey Joy, a self taught artist currently residing in Derby, Kansas, had a beautiful assortment of art available for sale in Santa’s workshop. Painting as a form of therapy is a passion of hers as well as reaching out to those in the community around her and encouriging others to bring their own creative light into the world. She believes art is an act of defiance against the darkness, and she’s striving to leave a bright trail in her wake.
Artist Joshua Krannawitter was also on hand to sell his creations in Santa’s workshop. Krannawitter, who resides in Halstead, Kansas, J. Krannawitter is best known for his unique paintings done entirely with spray paint. Joshua does live demonstrations, creating everything from familiar Kansas scenery to distant alien landscapes.
While the Christmas decorations will be taken down and stored after the holidays, the memories created will be long lasting.