Carols kick off Christmas weekend at courthouse


Caroling At The Courthouse

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The annual caroling at the Mahoning County Courthouse was held Dec. 23, 2016.

By PETER H. MILLIKEN

milliken@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

The marble-lined rotunda of the 105-year-old Mahoning County Courthouse reverberated with joyful music as visitors and county employees joined in the annual Christmas caroling.

During the 1960s, Anthony Vivo, who was county clerk of courts for 39 years, was instrumental in starting the tradition on the last business day before Christmas.

Upon his death in 1994, his son, also named Anthony Vivo, who became the court clerk that year, continued the tradition and now serves as master of ceremonies.

“Just getting in that beautiful rotunda with the tremendous acoustics and singing these beautiful songs with the band – it’s a good way to kick off the Christmas weekend, and it’s a fun thing to do,” Vivo said Friday, referring to the band made up of current and former county employees.

“This and naturalization [of new U.S. citizens] are my two favorite things to do in the courthouse,” Vivo

added.

“For me, it’s just a great time of fellowship with the people working in the courthouse, all Mahoning County employees and the citizens of Mahoning County,” said Scott A. Grossen, administrator in the court clerk’s office and the band’s lead guitarist.

Participants line the steps and look down from the upper-floor railings under the rotunda dome.

The celebration features an appearance by Santa Claus, who greets children in front of the Christmas tree, which is the rotunda’s first-floor centerpiece.

Susan McGrew, who became Mahoning County law librarian in January after 18 years in that role in Geauga County, experienced the event here for the first time.

“I’m amazed at the talent of the people playing the instruments. I thought they did a great job. Our singing could be better, but, you know, maybe next year people will practice a little more,” McGrew said.

“People brought their families, which was nice. It was nice to see the kids,” she said.

Besides Grossen, the band consisted of guitarists, Luis M. Arroyo, family services director for the county’s domestic relations court, and Judge Diane S. Vettori of Sebring Court; Kathi McNabb Welsh, chief deputy clerk of courts, playing the flute; Cindy Cleeland, a former deputy clerk of courts, playing the keyboard; and Matt Stephens, a summer intern in the clerk of courts office, who is now an Ohio State University law student.

The holiday celebration inside the historic building immediately followed the dismantling in recent days of the exterior scaffolding that enshrouded the front facade of the downtown landmark during much of its restoration to its original glory.

Next year, plans call for brick and window repairs in the building’s interior window wells, the cleaning of the building’s granite exterior, the upgrading of its exterior lighting, and the long-awaited return of the copper statues to their rooftop perch as the building’s three-year, $6 million-plus restoration is completed.

At the event, Noralynn Palermo, who was re-elected county recorder Nov. 8, was sworn in to her new term of office.

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