Today’s news:

School choir performs during stamp release

The U.S. Postal Service issued the 42-cent Christmas and holiday stamps at the 2008 Fall Postage Stamp Mega Event at Madison Square in late October and Preston High School’s Gospel Choir provided music for the celebration. After being asked to perform last year by Dr. Katherine Tobin, a member of the post office’s governing board and former Preston Board member, the choir was invited back and sang both traditional holiday music and gospel hymns. Dr. Peggy Morton is the choir’s faculty advisor and Senior Ebony Pulley serves as the group director.

Featured on the 2008 Christmas stamp is the Virgin and Child with the Young John the Baptist painting by Italian master Sandro Botticelli.

“The new Christmas stamp symbolizes the spirit of the season — joy and giving,” said Susan M. Brownell, vice president, Supply Management, for the United States Postal Service, who dedicated the stamp. “We are proud that this stamp, depicting the loving relationship between mother and child, will decorate billions of greeting cards, letters and packages this holiday season.”

Since 1978, the theme of the Christmas stamp has been the Madonna and Child, and the stamps have attracted a devoted following over the years. The 2008 design feature has an added twist with the additional figure of John the Baptist. The painting, tempera and oil on wood, by Botticelli dates to around 1490 and is now part of the world-renowned collection of the Cleveland Museum of Art.

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