ChristmasEntertainmentHolidayRuth Eckerd Hall

A Holiday Field Trip to Remember

Photos by Mayor George Cretekos and used by permission unless otherwise noted.

I can recall my field trips of long ago. A trip to the aquarium, a play. Nothing really special. But the chance to get out of school for a day? Awesome! If I was really lucky, I had enough money to purchase a pencil from the gift shop.

Every year in Clearwater, over 5,000 grade-school kids from around the city are treated an amazing field trip: a live performance at the annual Steinbrenner Christmas concert (and more!)

And this year, my third-grade grandson happily was one of them.

Incredibly, the Steinbrenners and the New York Yankees have been presented this phenomenal endeavor for 31 years.

The concert on December 10, 2019 at Ruth Eckerd Hall opened with the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Department Honor Guard presenting the colors for the National Anthem.

The Florida Orchestra was under the direction of Associate Conductor Daniel Black.

Channel 13 news anchor Mark Wilson was the emcee

and he then joined the Palm Harbor University High School Afterschool Specials ensemble to sing various Christmas carols.

The Palm Harbor University High School Afterschool Ensemble delighted the students with a different rendition of “The Twelve Days of Christmas.”

As the Florida Orchestra played from Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker,” dancers from the Ballet Theatre International pirouetted and jeted across the stage.

The “trepack” is a traditional Russian/Ukranian folk dance that is a highlight in “The Nutcracker.”

Former Yankee Nick Swisher returned this year to read Clement Clarke Moore’s “Twas the Night Before Christmas.”

For the finale, the Tampa Tarpons mascot Blue and Santa Claus joined emcee Mark Wilson and the other performers for another Christmas medley which concluded with “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.”

Santa Claus greeted each of the students as they departed the hall.

Nick Swisher joined Jennifer Steinbrenner in distributing Yankee gift bags to the students.

But what was in the bags of goodies turned out to be nothing short of amazing.

Photo by Kelly Kelly

Not just a pencil, no. These New York Yankees duffel bags held a blanket, a uniformed teddy bear, baseball cap, necklace, water bottle, bobble head and a faux World Series ring!

Photo by Kelly Kelly

So much better than a pencil.

The Steinbrenner family, NY Yankees and Ruth Eckerd Hall made a whole lot of kids very happy!

Photos by Mayor George Cretekos and used by permission unless otherwise noted.

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