Los Angeles County is filled with hundreds of ethnicities, with each celebrating the holiday season in its own special way. For the past 58 years, the annual LA County Holiday Celebration has brought together the cultural diaspora of the area together for an extremely entertaining afternoon that also serves as a good excuse to get out of the house while waiting for the dinner turkey to finish cooking.
Highlights of this year’s LA County Holiday Celebration include many performers returning to the show, including the Harmonic Bronze Handbell Ensemble, which will perform a classical handbell piece that celebrates Christmas and Hanukkah. Also on tap are the Palmdale High School Choral Union and Sunday Night Singers, who will sing holiday songs, as well as the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department Band, which will play a medley of holiday favorites.
The show is also musically eclectic, as evidenced by the presence of MUSYCA Children’s Choir, which will perform Christmas songs written by contemporary artists, and Mostly Kosher, which will play upbeat Jewish folk and holiday songs. The Jung Im Lee Korean Dance Company will perform a Korean drumming dance, and the all-female mariachi ensemble Las Colibri will perform a collection of holiday songs.
The Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles will return for its 23rd annual appearance, while the 32-member ensemble Pacifico Dance Company will perform classical and contemporary Mexican dance forms including an excerpt form “Jaranas y Danzones de Yucatan.” The 34-member choir VOX Femina Los Angeles will perform songs celebrating Christmas and Hanukkah, while the Spirit Chorale of Los Angeles will perform spirituals along with jazz, blues and original Gospel works.
Joining the celebration this year for the first time is the City Ballet of Los Angeles, presenting an excerpt from “The Nutcracker,” and JC Culture Foundation, which will perform both a Chinese dragon and lion dance. The West African drum and dance company, Le Ballet Dembaya, will perform a West-African mask dance; and the Los Angeles-based ensemble vocal group M-Pact will sing popular holiday songs.
Taking place at downtown LA’s Music Center on the iconic Dorothy Chandler Pavilion stage, the celebration was founded in 1959 by the late Kenneth Hahn, supervisor of the Second District of Los Angeles County from 1952 to1992. The free three-hour live production features instrumental music, choral music and dance performances. The show is broadcast live in Southern California on PBS SoCal (KOCE), live streamed on pbssocal.org and presented live at the Music Center.
The 58th Annual LA County Holiday Celebration takes place from 3 to 6 p.m. Sunday at the Music Center’s Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, 135 N. Grand Ave., Los Angeles. Admission is free. Call (213) 972-7211 or visit MusicCenter.org/holidaycelebration.