Jenny Rampton Bowman and Rebecca Rampton Sondrup grew up immersed in the magic of a special Christmas event as youngsters. As ballet students of Jacqueline Colledge, founderof Utah Regional Ballet, they danced in the Nutcracker every year for a combined total of 30 years. “We loved the magic of the production. Every Christmas was filled with the immensely popular ballet production,” said Bowman.
Jana Rampton, mother of the two women remembers, “We were so glad for the opportunities to form lasting relationships and celebrate the hard work, talent, and time spent by the students to bring joy to all who came to the productions. We grew to love each other and the people who came to the see the production.”
To commemorate their love of the Nutcracker, Jenny and Rebecca had an idea: Make a Nutcracker-themed tree to sell at the Festival of the Trees. “As a girl, my mom and I would go to the Festival of the Trees every year. It was something I looked forward to,” said Jana. “It is such a wonderful event I have supported it my entire life.”
Jenny had a vision of the tree she wanted to decorate. “I wanted something to remind me and all those who love the Nutcracker of the wonder and whimsy of the iconic ballet.” Jenny, whose creative talent landed her a spot on the Martha Stewart Show making spectacular cookies and other culinary treats, started the project. She and Rebecca have spent over 75 hours bringing their vision to life.
The tree is a truly a masterpiece. The pink, silver, and gold tree holds 70 pair of toe shoes. The pink shoes are placed strategically throughout the tree. The shoes are embellished with sequins, beads, lace and ribbon, but the hallmark of the tree isthe miniature stages recreated with a laser printer. The proscenium of each tiny diorama are replicas of old European stages. Inside the tiny stages are miniature ballet dancers, each depicting a scene from the Nutcracker. The scenes are complete with music boxes and lights. With the push of a button, tinyscenes come to life with music, lights, and performers.
“I think this is the 50th anniversary for the Festival of Trees and we wanted to do something special to celebrate,” said Jana.
The tree will be carefully transported to the Mountain AmericanExpo Center where all trees can be viewed virtually. All items for sale may be purchased from Tuesday, November 30, to Saturday, December 4.
The Festival of Trees is presented by Intermountain Foundation and is brought to life by a dedicated volunteer board of 80 people who enlist the talents of thousands of families, organizations, and businesses throughout Utah and neighboring states. All proceeds from the Festival of Trees benefit the patients at Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital.
Anyone can view the trees at FestivalofTrees.org. The website also features the Elf Emporium, a gift boutique and stories of patients and families aided by Primary Children’s Hospital services.
In 2020, the Festival of Trees event raised $1.2 million in support of Primary Children’s Hospital, and this year, even organizers expect to exceed that amount