You’re invited to come to Downtown L.A. (or to tune in on TV) for a slate of extraordinary holiday-themed performances featuring colorful costumes and global sounds from Africa, China, India, Philippines, Mexico and Hawaii, as well as professional dancers and musicians, community-based children’s choirs, music and dance ensembles.
Bring the whole family to this three-hour cultural extravaganza of entertainment, happening on Saturday, Dec. 24, 2022 from 3 p.m.–6 p.m.
Now in it’s 63rd year, the Emmy Award-winning L.A. County Holiday Celebration—a one-of-a-kind, free holiday spectacular—has been an annual Los Angeles holiday tradition since 1959.
On December 24 this beloved show will once again spread joy to thousands of Angelenos to celebrate Christmas Eve.
Delighting both the in-person audience at The Music Center’s Dorothy Chandler Pavilion and an at-home audience watching the live broadcast on TV, the 63rd annual event will feature over 20 music ensembles, choirs and dance companies from the many neighborhoods and cultures that make up L.A.
Those who can’t make it in person to The Music Center on Dec. 24 will be able to watch the event live on PBS SoCal or stream it online, with an encore broadcast later in the evening. KCET will rebroadcast the show that evening, and again on Christmas Day. Tickets to the in-person event are free and available on a first-come, first-seated basis.
L.A.’s biggest, Emmy-nominated holiday show at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. More than 20 choirs, music ensembles and dance companies from the many neighborhoods and cultures of L.A. celebrate the season during this free three-hour extravaganza.
Even the parking underneath the Music Center is free. (cheap!)
Watch the whole show LIVE on KCET from 3-6 pm, and again from 8-11 pm.
Some highlights this year:
Adaawe — an all-women ensemble. We hear their collective voices harmonize. A djembe drum kicks in, soon joined by a second drum. Lyrics for the familiar seasonal song ‘The Little Drummer Boy’ are adapted to include “a woman and her drum.” Their performance is a joyous celebration of feminine energy and spirituality.
CSA Vocal Arts Ensemble — Sweet choruses, jazzy six-string guitar and gentle brass accompaniment. The group presents soft Christmas and jazz-infused carols featuring peaceful lyrics with a swing sensibility.
Shivam Arts — feature four female performers. The dancers swiftly bless / touch the earth before the rehearsal commences. Three dancers are clothed in black tops, long gold skirts, with bare feet and bells on their ankles. A Flamenco dancer in red heels enters the dance.
Indian flavors blended with flamenco and Sufi / dervish whirling, set to pre-recorded musical accompaniment.
Palmdale High School Chamber Singers and Sunday Night Singers deliver perfect versions of classic carols such as Joy to the World and Mary Had A Baby. The group will perform two songs — maybe three or four on the day, if the timing works out. Silver Bells or Let it Snow are also practiced. Ding Dong Merrily on High is chosen as the first song because it has multiple verses. Choirmaster expresses desire to finish with a bang and the Joy to the World number.
The ensemble features happy, enthusiastic teens and an approximately 30-strong choir ensemble, delivering gorgeous vocal dynamics.
Three young soloists downstage — the Sunday Night Singers — deliver the Christmas carol Mary Had a Baby. Their trio of harmonies a cappella begins the performance, before the choir joins in. This exquisite arrangement has heavenly harmonies soaring.
Big smiles from all as they navigate the vocal gymnastics of Joy to the World, for a big finish!
Kayamanan Ng Lahi
Dancers in vividly colored traditional costumes of purple, orange, hot pink, rich green paired with intricate golden headdresses take to the rehearsal stage. Approximately 15 or so – men and women, including some little girls – create elegant patterns with their choreography. Musicians accompany the dancers on gamelan drums, violin, and piano.
First time this youth choir group is participating in this annual event. A little harmonica note sounds — pitch is located — and the a cappella ensemble of seven kids, aged from maybe 7 to mid-teen begin their performance.
First song I’ll be home for Christmas begins with a female soloist as the others make swishing snow sounds. Creative vocalizing and percussive beat boxing paired with high note chorus, followed by a jaunty version of Sleigh Ride with gestures and choreography. The group allows opportunities for soloists to step forward and shine. One more song Christmas Can Can features inclusive lyrics that cover and name check all faiths. The song, with its high tempo, requires rapid delivery and — bonus — even some high kicks!
Four white guys make up the group with a jazz / flamenco guitar, cello, clarinet, and rattling wooden box and a cymbal and bell for percussive elements. They perform Romanian Christmas songs. One five-minute song features pastoral themes with a medieval flavor. Slower and more contemplative in tempo, at times, then a change up towards the finale lends added excitement.
Gabrielito Y La Verdad
This is a larger ensemble with seven musicians lighting up the rehearsal room with their lively Latin Jazz. Piano, conga, drums, cowbells, trumpet, trombone, and guitar make up the ensemble. The dynamic vocalist plays a long, hollow wooden instrument that’s scraped with a wooden stick, and later shakes maracas to add a consistent and groovy percussive beat. That instrument is a Güiro – commonly used in traditional Puerto Rican music. It is a notched hollowed-out gourd, which produces music by dragging a wooden stick-like object, commonly known as a scrapper, or more formally called a “pua,” on the rigdes on the outside of the Güiro.
The slick group has three songs prepared for the show. They kick off with Bobby Caldwell’s What You Won’t Do for Love. Super groovy Latin beats with piano and brass back the singer belting out lyrics such as, “I came back to let you know” while he scrapes out a pleasing rhythm on his Güiro.
Next number is an original Bolero – a slow one. “We have over 200 songs in our repertoire!” laughs the singer. This song features soft vocals and flowery piano with wistful Spanish lyrics. A gorgeous and brassy version of Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On is somehow smooth and vibrant at the same time. What a band!
All rehearsal photos by Pauline Adamek.
From the press release:
The Music Center, L.A.’s premier performing arts destination, and PBS SoCal and KCET, Southern California’s primary PBS stations and award-winning public media producers, are excited to announce the hosts and performers for this year’s L.A. County Holiday Celebration, a one-of-a-kind, free holiday spectacular that has been a Los Angeles holiday tradition since 1959.
The 63rd annual, two-time Emmy® award-winning event will feature 21 music ensembles, choirs and dance companies from the many neighborhoods and cultures that make up L.A. County. Returning with a live audience for the first time since 2019, the program will delight both the in-person audience at The Music Center’s Dorothy Chandler Pavilion on Saturday, Dec. 24 from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., and at-home audiences watching the live broadcast on PBS SoCal, streaming online at kcet.org and pbssocal.org, or via the free PBS app. Encore broadcasts will be aired by PBS SoCal on Saturday, Dec. 24 at 6 p.m., and on KCET on Saturday, Dec. 24 at 11 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 25at 6 p.m.
Internationally acclaimed mezzo-soprano and Emmy® award-winning television host Suzanna Guzmán returns as co-host for her ninth year, and will be joined by professional roller skater, skate choreographer and coach Candice Heiden.
Featuring colorful costumes and global sounds from Africa, China, India, Philippines, Mexico, Hawaii and more, this year’s participating artists hail from communities across Los Angeles County: from Santa Monica, West L.A. and Culver City in the west to Burbank, Pasadena and the San Gabriel Valley in the east, and from the northern reaches of the Antelope and San Fernando Valleys to South Los Angeles and Rancho Palos Verdes.
Returning audience favorites include the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles; gospel singers Lorenzo Johnson & Praizum; all-women global soul ensemble ADAAWE; Grammy® award-winner Daniel Ho with Hawaiian hula dancers Hālau Hula Keali’i o Nālani; Philippine folk arts dance company Kayamanan Ng Lahi; all-female mariachi ensemble Las Colibrí; Mexican folkloric dance troupe Pacifico Dance Company; current student and alumni ensemble Palmdale High School Choral Unionand Sunday Night Singers; world chamber music ensemble Quarteto Nuevo; Asian/country fusion musicians Sound of China Guzheng Ensemble; children’s ensembles MUSYCA Children’s Choir and Our Lady of the Angels Children’s Chorus; and Urban Voices Project, a choir comprised of men and women surviving homelessness on Skid Row.
New this year are award-winning blues band Sista Jeans Blues Machine; hip-hop dance ensemble Temper Tantrum; all-kids a cappella group Squad Harmonix; secular a cappella choir Voices of Reason; modern kathak (North Indian classical dance) ensemble Shivam Arts Dance Company joined by Clarita Corona of Arte Flamenco; tap dance ensemble Reverb Tap Company; keepers of the Ballet Russe legacy Pacific Ballet Dance Theatre; and the California School of the Arts – San Gabriel Valley Vocal Arts Ensemble.
Tickets to the in-person event are free and available on a first–come, first–seated basis. Doors open at 2:30 p.m., although the line usually begins to form around noon.
ARTISTS PERFORMING IN THE 63rd annual L.A. COUNTY HOLIDAY CELEBRATION*
(*subject to change)
• ADAAWE, an all-women global soul music ensemble, will perform their uplifting original reggae tune Sikiya fused with an alternate take on the traditional holiday song Little Drummer Girl that empowers girls and celebrates rhythm.
• California School of the Arts – San Gabriel Valley Vocal Arts Ensemble will sing Moonglow and The Christmas Song.
• Daniel Ho & Hālau Hula Keali’i o Nālani will perform Drummer Boy, sung in the Hawaiian language and accompanied by original hula choreography.
• Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles returns to the L.A. County Holiday Celebration for the 32nd year in a row to perform Motown-themed holiday songs.
• Kayamanan Ng Lahi will perform A New Beginning, using traditional pangalay and provincial-style movements juxtaposed with original, contemporary music to illustrate the transformation of the human spirit and the way it adapts, uplifts and takes flight like a paruparo, or butterfly.
• Las Colibrí (“The Hummingbirds”), an all-female mariachi ensemble, will blend vocal harmonies with unique arrangements of holiday songs.
• Lorenzo Johnson & Praizum will sing high energy Gospel renditions of classic Christmas songs, accompanied by fun choreography.
• MUSYCA Children’s Choir, bringing together gifted young people ages four to 18, will perform Christmas Time Is Here from A Charlie Brown Christmasand Wonderful Christmastime by Paul McCartney.
• Our Lady of the Angels Children’s Chorus, a dynamic, internationally renowned youth ensemble, will perform the unique Christmas lullaby Candlelight Carol and a choral arrangement of Duke Ellington’s vocal jazz classic, It Don’t Mean A Thing.
• Pacific Ballet Dance Theatre will perform a magical rendition of the Snowflake Dance from Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker.
• Pacifico Dance Company will perform Orgullo Oaxaqueño, an homage to Oaxaca’s annual La Guelaguetza festival that celebrates indigenous communities and preserves sacred pre-Hispanic traditions for a post-colonial world.
• Palmdale High School Choral Union and Sunday Night Singers, a select ensemble of current high school and alumni singers who have performed nationally and internationally, will perform the song Mary Had A Baby, a beautiful spiritual of hope when all appears bleak, followed by the Derric Johnson arrangement of Joy to the World.
• Quarteto Nuevo, which merges western classical, Eastern European folk, Latin and jazz, will perform an arrangement of Romanian Christmas carols by Béla Bartók, adapted for its unique world chamber ensemble of soprano saxophone, acoustic guitar, cello and Brazilian hand percussion.
• Reverb Tap Company will showcase fierce footwork and style, tap dancing to a jazz-based score, honoring and preserving the history of the art form with this rich tribute while bringing a youthful, vibrant and unexpected twist to the stage.
• Shivam Arts Dance Company, a professional group of highly-skilled, classically trained kathak (North Indian classical dance) dancers who are pushing the boundaries of traditional dance in a modern setting, will perform Dual Rhythms: An Energetic Synergy of Kathak & Flamenco, joined by Clarita Corona of Arte Flamenco.
• Sista Jeans Blues Machine, winner of the 2013 “Best Southern California Blues Band” award, will perform the Donny Hathaway song This Christmas.
• Sound of China Guzheng Ensemble will fuse the sound of traditional Chinese instruments with that of American country music for a holiday rendition of John Denver’s Take Me Home, Country Roads.
• Squad Harmonix, an all-kids a cappella performance group, will perform Sleigh Ride and I’ll Be Home for Christmas.
• Temper Tantrum will showcase a variety of hip-hop and other choreographic styles under the direction of Emeroy Bernardo, Brandon Burciaga, Lauren Jose and Krystle Montoya.
• Urban Voices Project, a choir comprised of men and women surviving homelessness on Skid Row, will sing a mash-up of Bing Crosby/David Bowie’s The Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth accompanied by piano, guitar, electric bass, drums, violin and cello, and will then ask the audience to join in and raise their voices to the group’s original, powerful and heartwarming song, Rise Again.
• Voices of Reason, a secular, a cappella community choir that sings comedic songs focusing on science and separation of church and state, will sing Evolution and Steve Martin’s Atheists Don’t Have No Songs.
63rd annual L.A. County Holiday Celebration
Live, in-person event!
Saturday, Dec. 24 from 3 p.m.–6 p.m.
• A live broadcast of the show airs on PBS SoCal on Saturday, Dec. 24 from 3 p.m.–6 p.m.
• Live streaming at pbssocal.org and kcet.org and on the free PBS app
• An encore broadcast will air on PBS SoCal on Saturday, Dec. 24 at 6 p.m.
• Two encore broadcasts will air on KCET: Saturday, Dec. 24 at 11 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 25 at 6 p.m.
• Performing artists from across Los Angeles County
• Sponsored by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors
• Produced by The Music Center and PBS SoCal in association with CDK Productions
• Directed by Emmy® award-winning producer/director Kenneth Shapiro
• Live telecast, streaming and encore broadcast on PBS SoCal; streaming and encore broadcasts at KCET
The Music Center’s Dorothy Chandler Pavilion
135 N. Grand Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90012
FREE in The Music Center parking garage.
• FREE; no reservations or tickets to the show.
• First-come, first-seated.
***The line usually begins to form around noon***
While The Music Center strongly encourages vaccines/boosters and the use of masks, they are no longer required to attend performances in its theaters.
Information hotline: (213) 972-3099 or HolidayCelebration.org
About The Music Center:
The Music Center convenes artists, communities and ideas with the goal of deepening the cultural lives of every resident in Los Angeles County. The $70 million non-profit performing arts organization has two divisions: TMC Arts and TMC Ops. TMC Arts, The Music Center’s programming engine, provides year-round programming inside The Music Center’s four theatres, on Jerry Moss Plaza, outside at Grand Park—a 12-acre adjacent green space—in schools and other locations all over Los Angeles County and on a digital platform called The Music Center Offstage. TMC Arts presents world-class dance with Glorya Kaufman Presents Dance at The Music Center, free and low-cost public concerts and events, as well as live and digital K–12 arts education programs, workshops, performances, interactive experiences and special events. TMC Ops manages the theatres, the Plaza and Grand Park, which comprise $2 billion in county assets, on behalf of the County of Los Angeles. The Music Center is also home to four renowned resident companies—Center Theatre Group, Los Angeles Master Chorale, LA Opera and LA Phil. For more information, visit musiccenter.org. Follow The Music Center on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @MusicCenterLA.
About PBS SOCAL and KCET:
PBS SoCal and KCET are both part of the donor-supported community institution, the Public Media Group of Southern California. PBS SoCal is the flagship PBS station for diverse people across California and delivers content and experiences that inspire, inform and educate. PBS SoCal offers the full slate of beloved PBS programs including MASTERPIECE, NOVA, PBS NewsHour, FRONTLINE, and a broad library of documentary films with works from Ken Burns; as well as educational content including PBS KIDS programs like DANIEL TIGER’S NEIGHBORHOOD and CURIOUS GEORGE. KCETshowcases the best of PBS and is a leading source for arts, culture, and news in Southern California. Through innovative storytelling, KCET explores and expresses our dynamic local communities helping residents understand and connect with the region’s diverse communities and ideas. For additional information about both KCET and PBS SoCal productions, web-exclusive content, programming schedules and community events, please visit kcet.org and pbssocal.org KCET Originals and PBS programming are available to stream on the FREE PBS App on iOS and Android devices, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Android TV, Samsung Smart TV, and Chromecast. KCET is also available to watch live on YouTube TV.