Downtown Murfreesboro has been beautifully transformed with sparkling lights and colorfully decorated shops for the month-long holiday celebration. This year the festivities will culminate with the New Year’s Eve Night Watch Celebration, a night with a 21-piece orchestra, the Music City Swing Band, along with lively pre-show entertainment. Now in its seventh year, Night Watch has become a safe event to start fresh the New Year.
The event will be held in the Commons Room of the First Presbyterian Church, on the corner of College and Spring Streets in downtown Murfreesboro, from 7–10 p.m., with doors opening at 6:30 p.m. As the church members and events organizers fearlessly approach the New Year with anticipation, the theme for this year’s Night Watch is “Redeeming the Lost!”
Local talent will perform from 7–8 p.m. Then, from 8–10 p.m., the warm, spirited sounds of the Music City Swing Band will help the crowd dance and swing its way into 2016 with fun and excitement. Leaders from the community will offer prayers and best wishes for 2016, ending with the ringing of the downtown chimes and church bells with a “virtual New Year’s” at 10 p.m.
A citywide Community Service Fair featuring local service agencies will be part of the event, as will the announcement of this year’s Community Service Award recipient, celebrating the work of an individual noted for his or her outstanding contributions to improving life circumstances and offering substantive help, hope and encouragement to persons in need.
A suggested love offering of $5 will be received, or a contribution of five cans of food may be made at the door for the Greenhouse Ministries and Feed America First.
Night Watch is a safe, family-friendly event. Everyone is encouraged to bring their leftover Christmas cookies to share (get rid of them in time for your New Year’s diet resolution!), and bells, tambourines and any other cheerful noisemakers.
In ancient times the watchman played an important role in the city. The watchman carefully alerted the city when good ambassadors were approaching so that the gates could be opened and they could enter. Also, the watchman warned the city in advance of an enemy’s approach. They alerted, summoned and forewarned the people of the city so that they could arm and protect themselves.
How appropriate to pray God’s will and vision for 2016 in a place where one of the few Civil War relics remain; the church bell at the First Presbyterian Church is within earshot of the lawn of the Rutherford County Courthouse, where one of the war’s most horrendous battles occurred in 1862. In fact, on another New Year’s long ago, from Dec. 30, 1862, until Jan. 2, 1863—the period encompassing the Battle of Stones River—many loyal watchman sentinels were positioned on the roof of the courthouse and were assigned to protect and alert the city population from the advancing Union army. In that incident, the First Presbyterian Church was burned to the ground during the Union occupation. The charred remains of the bell were recovered and installed in the new church. That bell still exists and will ring in the first moments of 2016 along with other downtown church bells and the courthouse bell.
For more information on Night Watch or to volunteer, contact Gloria or Thom Christy at (615) 893-2369 or (615) 668-0475, or visit facebook.com/NW2016.