L.A. Holiday Celebration 2011
Airs Friday, Dec. 23, 2011 at 9 p.m. & Sunday, Dec. 25 at 12:30 p.m. on KPBS TV
Thursday, December 1, 2011
"L.A. Holiday Celebration 2011" showcases highlights from the live, three-hour Los Angeles County Holiday Celebration recorded on Christmas Eve 2010 in the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion of the Music Center.
This holiday-themed show, attended by nearly 7,000 people annually and featuring 1,000 performers, represents the diverse cultures and holiday traditions found in Los Angeles' myriad neighborhoods.
This edition of the Emmy-nominated music and dance extravaganza yields distinctive interpretations of holiday classics and a glimpse into how world cultures mark the season.
Nine-time All-Ireland Fiddle Champion Eileen Ivers and Immigrant Soul kick off the celebration with high wattage Celtic riffs. Fellow guest artist and Grammy winner Tia Carrere, accompanied on piano by Daniel Ho, soothes with a Brahms lullaby set to Hawaiian lyrics.
The Harmonic Bronze Handbell Ensemble summons up snowy landscapes in “Winter Dance.” Tiers of drummers from Jung Im Lee Korean Dance Academy captivate with the rhythmic purity of “One Drum.” Mariachi Sol de Mexico de Jose Hernandez shows lyrical mastery in “The Little Drummer Boy” sung in Spanish. That favorite holiday standard “The Christmas Song” receives the swing treatment from the Elliot Deutsch Big Band.
Self-confessed “retro geek” and “histo-tainer” Charles Phoenix visits the Rowley family of Ontario, Calif., whose business still makes candy canes by hand, and L.A. County’s “King of Jello,” whose shimmering seasonal creations are to die for.
Also on the program are music teachers from the Los Angeles Unified School District who came together to form the LACESMA Women’s Chorale, one of six choruses selected for the highlights show. Salvation Army Tabernacle Children’s Chorus has the moves for “Hip Hop Reindeer” as does the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles in the salute to Santa anticipation, “Man with the Bag.”
The a cappella Palmdale High School Choral Union conveys the joys of downhill sledding in “Run Toboggan Run.” The Christian Community Center Cathedral Choir praises with gospel fervor in “To Our God.” The Colburn Children’s Choir & Young Men’s Ensemble is simply having a “Wonderful Christmas Time.”
The students of Gabriella Axelrad Education Foundation, which provides free and low cost dance instruction to children, lead off the show’s dance offerings with their precision tap routine, “Toy Soldiers.” Antics Performance turns “The Nutcracker” on its head, sometimes literally, with their hip hop remix of the Snow Scene. Pacifico Dance Company and Mariachi Los Toros celebrate Christmas as it is done in the Mexican state of Jalisco.