The Sounds of Christmas concert in the State Farm headquarters atrium—a 35-year Bloomington-Normal tradition—is coming to an end.
A State Farm approved statement indicated the atrium is undergoing remodeling and will no longer be available for the concert.
One of the organizers, Joy Hippensteele of the Music Shoppe in Normal, said the concert turned into a multigenerational tradition for many Twin City families.
"It started with grandparents and became a tradition. And some years they got tickets and some years they didn't. But then kids grew and they started going with their children. I've talked with many, many people who have said it has been a central Christmas event for them and their extended family," said Hippensteele.
The statement from State Farm and the Music Shoppe also indicated that over the years, Dick Benson of Dick Benson's Music, passed the baton to The Music Shoppe, while GLT took over promotion. But it was difficult to envision Sounds of Christmas being moved to a different venue.
"I think it has been a sign of a spirit of giving. You had professional quality performers giving of their time. No one had to pay to go to the concert and that was part of initial premise and mission of the show. There is an inherent spirit, a giving spirit," said Hippensteele.
Tickets were free, but for many years it was so popular a lottery was required to prevent overcrowding.
State Farm's statement goes on to say the local performers and volunteers over the years have been the magic of Sounds of Christmas.
"We are deeply grateful to them all for sharing their gifts with our community, and though this holiday tradition has ended, we will carry the spirit with which it was given these last three decades," said the organizers.
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