ASG employees decorating the Christmas tree next to the Pavillion at the Malaeoletalu in Fagatogo last year, in preparation for the 2011 ASG Territorial Christmas Program. [photos: AF]

The government sponsored Territorial Christmas Program, first established more than a decade ago, is scheduled for three nights in December and Gov. Togiola Tulafono has asked ASG departments and agencies to take part in this annual event.

Since its inception, Togiola says, the Christmas Program “has been the highlight of our island and community for the Christmas season.” (The program was first established during the first term of the late Gov. Tauese P. F. Sunia.)

“It has become a wonderful opportunity to rejoice in the many blessings we enjoy through joyful celebration in song, dance, skits and plays of the festive season,” the governor said in an Oct. 24 memo to ASG directors.

The program this year is set for Dec. 12, 13, and 14 at the Fagatogo Pavilion. In order to receive maximum participation for this year’s Christmas program, small departments and agencies can combine for a joint presentation, according to the memo.

“As we prepare to celebrate the Birth of Our Savior Jesus Christ, let us be reminded that the spirt of the Original Christmas Gift to the World is what inspires us to fulfill our duties with purpose and truth throughout the year,” said Togiola. “I look forward to your participation in rejoicing in the bountiful blessings we have received in American Samoa and it is only befitting that we return the praises to our Heavenly Father.”

Participation is to be confirmed with the governor’s chief of staff, Pati Faiai, who last Thursday issued a memo reminding all departments, agencies and offices wanting to participate to confirm their participation as soon as possible so that “we can prepare and plan the program.”

Togiola will deliver his final Christmas address as the territory’s chief executive — his second four-year term in office officially ends before 12 noon on Jan. 3, 2013. As in past years, KVZK-TV will air the entire program live, and then rebroadcast on Christmas morning.

Departments and agencies are usually given a 10- minute time frame to perform their skits and songs, although some groups go over their allotted time.

This year, not much is being heard about ASG choir practices, as the territory has been in election mode. A handful of ASG employees contacted earlier this week said they have heard about the program set for next month, but not much attention had been focused on the event, waiting until after the run off election this past Tuesday.

In past years, some departments started their choir practice in early or mid November, with some practices being held in the morning, while other departments practiced in the afternoon. The subject of choir practice in past years also prompted many complaints from the public, as government services were curtailed by as much as a half-day every work day because offices were closed while staff participated in their choir practice.


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