The L.A. County Holiday Celebration, L.A.’s largest holiday spectacular, celebrates its 60th anniversary in 2019 with a free event on Christmas Eve at The Music Center in downtown L.A. which has been presented every single Christmas Eve since 1959. Join this year’s co-hosts, internationally acclaimed mezzo-soprano Suzanna Guzmán and actress Marissa Ramirez (Blue Bloods), for this FREE, three-hour holiday show in the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion featuring more than 20 music ensembles, choirs, and dance companies from the many neighborhoods and cultures that make up L.A.
This year, two of the participating groups are headed up by hometown residents as both the Folklorico troupe Pacifico Dance Company’s artistic director Adriana Gainey and VOX Femina artistic director Iris Levine make their homes in Culver City. Among the other talented artists in the celebration are legendary Cuban jazz trumpet player Arturo Sandoval, accompanied by his world-renowned band, who will kick off this year’s celebration with a medley of holiday songs. Returning favorites include H?lau Keali’i o N?lani & the Daniel Ho Trio, the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles, gospel choir Greater LA Cathedral Choir, and Jung Im Lee Korean Dance Academy.
Some of this year’s newcomers include Latin folk band Cuñao, the dancers and drummers of African Soul International and a cappella group Street Corner Renaissance. All-female, two-time GRAMMY award-winning Mariachi Divas de Cindy Shea will team up with their “brother” band Mariachi Espectacular, and Jewish cultural revival band Mostly Kosher will share the stage with Urban Voices Project, a choir made up of men and women surviving homelessness on Skid Row. A total of 25 groups are participating this year!
New this year: from noon to 5 p.m., visitors can enjoy Plaza Wonderland, a family fun zone with games, coloring, and face-painting, a photo booth and numerous art-making workshops where kids and adults can create paper poinsettias and lanterns to take home, all on the newly reopened central plaza area of The Music Center. Guests will also be able to watch holiday favorites on the Plaza screens, including Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964) and The Grinch (2018), and enjoy food for purchase, including four tamale stations.
The L.A. County Holiday Celebration free music and dance spectacular takes place The Music Center’s Dorothy Chandler Pavilion on Tuesday, Dec. 24 from 3 to 6 p.m. Doors open at 2:30 p.m. and patrons may come and go throughout the three-hour performance to enjoy the outdoor Plaza Wonderland family fun zone. A live broadcast of the show airs during the entire performance on PBS SoCal, with an encore broadcast at 9 p.m., with live streaming at pbssocal.org and kcet.org.
The three-hour celebration takes place at The Music Center’s Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, 135 N. Grand Ave., Los Angeles. Admission is free; no reservations or tickets to the show; first come, first seated. FREE parking will be available in The Music Center parking garage during the entire celebration. Information hotline: (213) 972-3099 or HolidayCelebration.org
Those who can’t make it to The Music Center on Dec. 24 can watch the live broadcast on PBS SoCal by director Kenneth Shapiro of CDK productions who directs and produces the live TV show, starting at 3 p.m. on Christmas Eve, with the rebroadcast on KCET on Christmas Day from noon to 3 p.m. and 7 to 10 p.m., or online at pbssocal.org/holidaycelebration.