To say Woodstock High School Choral Director Paul Rausch is busy this time of year is an understatement.

In addition to the performances he directs for WHS — including the school’s holiday choral concert and Madrigal dinner — for the past 15 years, Rausch has led a community choir in a performance at the annual Lighting of the Square. The group is comprised of students from WHS, Woodstock North High School, Creekside Middle School and Northwood Middle School. Adults, including WHS alumni, also join in.

The choir rehearses on Mondays throughout the month of November leading up to the performance.

“We have kids return from college, rehearse with us one time, see their friends and reconnect,” Rausch said. “They really appreciate our town once they leave. They realize it’s a wonderful place.”

This homecoming of sorts is something Rausch treasures.

“Especially at the holidays, Woodstock has the feel of a Norman Rockwell painting come to life,” he said. “… It’s a picture of Americana.”

While Rausch is retiring from WHS at the end of this school year, he noted this may be his last year directing the choir at the Lighting of the Square.

“Or it may not,” Rausch quickly added. “It’s such a magical night that we get to help create … to look out and see all the children’s faces. It really is a great view. And we enjoy giving back to the community.”

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