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The Music Center Sets the Stage for a Free Holiday Celebration of LA’s Culture

Written by Cindy Marie Jenkins on Friday, December 22nd, 2017 at 11:43am.

The Music Center houses an incredible amount of culture, between the Ahmanson, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Mark Taper Forum, Disney Concert Hall and a number of beautiful outdoor venues. Performing at any of these venues could be a performer’s dream; to do it for an audience that starts to wait in line in the wee hours of the morning, who treat it as their Christmas Eve Celebration, that is both exhilarating and a lot of pressure.

This is what performers from all across Los Angeles handle as they perform in the Los Angeles County Holiday Celebration. December 24th marks its 58th performance and we found some fast facts to bring you behind the scenes of this extravaganza!

  • The late Kenneth Hahn, Supervisor of LA County District 2 (1952-1992) used to run the Christmas program, as it was first called, out of the Los Angeles Sports Arena. Then Dorothy Chandler asked him for aid to build her proposed Music Center. Part of their deal was to swap his support on the condition that one day a year, The Music Center was open to LA County residents for see a free performance. The LA County Holiday Celebration has been hosted by the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion of Music since its opening in 1964.

  • Every year, 3,500-5,000 people attend the show live at The Music Center, while half a million people households in Southern California watch the livestream on PBS SoCal.

  • Laura Zucker was Executive Director of the LA County Arts Commission for over twenty years and recently retired. Kristin Sakoda was just announced as her successor, straight from her great work at the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.

  • When Zucker started at the LA County Arts Commission, the Celebration ran from 9AM to 9PM and every group had 15 minutes to perform. She got to work improving the experience for everyone involved and said “It has taken everyone one of my existing theater muscles to figure out how to make this show better and more relevant every year.” Now each company performing gets seven minutes and go through an application process. Zucker was thrilled to combine her work at the Arts Commission with her long history producing theatre.  

  • 25 different performing groups are chosen to perform every year, and celebrate the diversity of Los Angeles. This year’s performers include Mostly Kosher, a Jewish cultural revival band. Daniel Ho & Halau Keali’i o Nalani will present hula choreography and Ho’s original songs in English and Hawaiian. Las Colibri (“The Hummingbirds”) is an all-female mariachi band. La Ballet Dembaya is a professional West African drum and dance company who’ll perform a mask dance. There are new performers and standbys. Like...

  • The Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles, who will present at the LA Holiday Celebration for the 23rd year in a row. They’re no strangers to large and elaborate concerts, with their own holiday spectacular this year is titled “Modern Families.”

For the many family units who tune into the LA County Holiday Celebration every year, it wouldn’t feel the same without their favorite ensembles and the new faces they’ll see that represent the many varied talents throughout Los Angeles.

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