A Brief Dispatch from the 52nd Annual County Holiday CelebrationBy Frederik Sisa @ 1:00 PM January 06, 2012
Where else would you find spirited Klezmer music by band The Shpil (Yiddish for “toy”) alongside a performance by Funk and R&B pioneers Mandrill? Or a hip-hop dance interpretation of L.A.’s holiday traffic courtesy of the Versa-Style Dance Company alongside a traditional Korean fan dance from the Kwan Gyu Lim Dance Company? Answer: At a holiday concert offered to County residents by the County Board of Supervisors.
Latin Grammy award nominee La Santa Cecilia kicked off the 52nd annual County Holiday Celebration, putting taps in our feet, claps in our hands, and the unmistakable sizzle of good cheer in our spirits. It was a high-energy start to a rare gift: An antidote to cynical commercialism and the culture wars that finds reasons for offense instead of motivation to come together despite our differences in traditions and religious observances (or lack thereof). The concert, which embraces Christmas, Chanukah and a secular celebration of goodwill and community, is notable for also being a celebration of our fair city of Los Angeles, a metropolis that still holds within its network of neighbourhoods the ability to surprise and delight. While it’s easy to get lost in the irritation of traffic jams and whatever other shortcomings L.A. may have, the concert serves to highlight the city’s best character.
As in past celebrations, L.A.’s cultural and ethnic diversity was showcased on Dec. 24 through a range of performances from traditional Mexican folk dancing to Afro-Cuban drumming, Dickensian choirs to gospel ensembles, Jazz Tap to contemporary hip-hop dance, and more. Among the performers were wonderful L.A. fixtures such as the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles, Mariachi Sol de Mexico de Jose Hernandez, and the Harmonic Bronze Handbell Ensemble. There were also new discoveries to be made, such as The Bricks, a group of eight talented teenagers selected by the Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations and mentored by music industry professionals to make hip, scintillating music that speaks to pressing social issues. And, although not new to the Southern California music scene, the 25-year strong Charles Dickens Carolers made their first appearance at the County Holiday Celebration, bringing a lovely dose of Dickens and Christmas thanks to period costumes and four-part harmonies.
Rounding out the celebration was Lisa Haley and the Zydecats, whose zydeco stylings culminated in an enthusiastic audience sing-along of “Silent Night.” The celebration was too short, of course, but heartwarming nonetheless and leaving us eager for more.
Mr. Sisa, Assistant Editor of thefrontpageonline.com, may be contacted at email@example.com
His blog: www.inkandashes.net
...and also fashion with TFPO's The Fashionoclast at www.fashionoclast.com