In a season dominated by the politics of enragement, cheer and goodwill are set to arrive in the form of the 56th annual L.A. County Holiday Celebration. It’s my favourite event of the season, a cornucopia of colourful costumes, a medley of magical music, a plethora of pleasing performances.
I’m so excited I can’t help but alliterate.
Without adopting any agenda other than to express the very best sentiments of Christmas and the holiday season, the County Celebration stands as a rebuke to the reactionary xenophobia infecting the national conversation. Proclaiming unity through diversity, the Celebration highlights the rich and distinctive way in which cultures intersect and enrich each other in Los Angeles. Of course, it’s also just fun – a wonderful event for family and friends.
Past years have featured a variety of performers spanning choirs, dance troupes, and bands. The tradition continues with performances including mariachi, chorale, klezmer music, Chinese dance, and more. The full lineup consists of:
- Citrus Singers (40-member voice ensemble with handbells)
- Mariachi Reyna de Los Angeles (all-female mariachi band)
- Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles (an L.A. classic, now in its 37th season)
- Salvation Army Tabernacle Children’s Chorus (the largest and youngest choir on the program known for their “choralography”)
- Invertigo Dance Theatre (contemporary dance by one of the “top six trend-setting companies to watch in L.A.” — Dance Spirit Magazine)
- Mountainside Master Chorale (choral group from the Inland Empire)
- Mostly Kosher (klezmer revival band)
- Mt. San Antonio College Chamber Singers (38-member voice ensemble)
- Pacifico Dance Company (Mexican folklorico)
- Palmdale High School Choral Union (world-class high school choir performs at regional, national and international choral festivals and competitions)
- MôForró (accordion-driven, hip-swiveling dance music in the traditional “pé de serra” style of forró)
- Korean American Youth Performing Artists (Korean drum dance)
- San Gabriel Valley Children’s Chorus (music from Taiwan)
- Shin Dance (Chinese fan dance)
- SK Kakraba Band (featuring SK Kakraba on the gyil, the Ghanaian xylophone)
- Albert McNeil Jubilee Singers (Negro spirituals)
- L.A. Young Adult Choir of Gospel Music Workshop (Gospel)
It would be hard to single out a performer among the new and returning artists as one to look out for. Alumni Mariachi Reyna de Los Angeles always delight with their lively music of Mexico, while the Salvation Army Tabernacle Children’s Chorus consistently charm with their rendition of holiday favourites. The Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles remains a musical force to be reckoned with, as do the talented young people of the Palmdale High School Choral Union.
In dance, Pacifico Dance Company returns to grandly share the traditions of Mexican folkloric dance with costumes as energetic as their footwork, while the edgy Invertigo Dance Theatre, whose innovation includes teaching dance to Parkinson’s sufferers, offers imaginative contemporary work.
Maybe it’s the Citrus Singers with their secret weapon – handbells – that will win the spotlight. Or maybe it’s Mostly Kosher, the Jewish Klezmer revival band committing to preserving Jewish musical traditions as well as advancing them through innovative fusions.
But really, why single any one out from all these talented performers? The biggest winner is the audience, us, for having the opportunity to set aside the things that divide and come together instead to celebrate art, culture, and life.
For a sampling of what to expect, here’s a highlight reel from a past production:
Thursday, Dec. 24
3 to 6 p.m.
Dorothy Chandler Pavilion at the Music Center
135 N. Grand Ave.
Los Angeles 90012
– Free, no reservations or tickets to the show. First come, first seated.
– Doors open at 2:30. (The line forms much earlier.)
– Entertainment on the Music Center plaza begins at 12:30.
– Patrons may come and go throughout the three-hour performance.
Free in the Music Center parking garage