December 24th 3pm – 6pm FREE L.A. Holiday Celebration at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion
By Judi Jordan
Holiday spirit is sometimes hard to come by in L.A. No snow, balmy 80 degree days, surfer-dude Santas in board shorts and spotty street décor add to the lackluster holiday atmosphere that sometimes characterizes our lo-Cali-Christmas. But do not despair–you can get your Feliz Navidad on—FREE–at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion on Dec 24 where the L.A. Holiday Celebration promises cheer to spare.
TV star Marisa Ramirez will be joyfully co-hosting the three-hour event—“It’s my first time, I’m really excited!” On break from New York City where she has been shooting the CBS hit series Blue Bloods, outdoors [!] in very chilly weather, Marisa welcomes the warmth. “I have been wearing double thermals and standing by the heaters between shots—it’s cold on the east coast! “
Always adventurous, Marisa is having fun adjusting to the winter-weather holiday traditions; “I chopped down a Christmas tree at a farm and I went to a pumpkin patch!” She laughs. It is quite a change. Marisa grew up in the California sun, and heading back home to spend the holidays with her family in Los Angeles and Las Vegas is heartwarming after the long shoot days, adjusting to a new city, and a new life. 2013 marked a year of enormous and positive change for Marisa, after a rough 2012, where she weathered the cancellation of Body of Proof, and the loss of her beloved dog. Marisa admits. “Definitely 2012 was a grim year.” In spring of 2013, Marisa’s life turned a corner. She went east to shoot an episode of Blue Bloods, and “They kept asking me to stay”. The gap left by the departure of Jennifer Esposito was up for grabs. Ultimately, to her astonishment, Marisa was invited to join the cast. She plays Detective Maria Baez, partner to Donnie Wahlberg’s gruff character. Working with Donnie is apparently a blast. “It has been amazing.” When it was official, Marisa moved to NYC. “I had to give up my house to take that job—I had lived in Pasadena, near the Rose Bowl, it was so beautiful there.” It also carried many memories. Marisa recalls; “Last year I had Christmas there with my mom and brother, we came down in the morning and made waffles”. But clearly, she has no regrets, life is good again, and she’s “thrilled” to be working with “a great cast” and “the sweetest crew, there were so many hugs when we broke for the holidays.”
Marisa’s celebrating and bringing that enthusiasm to her L.A. Holiday hosting marathon on the eve of Christmas 2013. This is an annual event—the 54th —L.A. Holiday Celebration–but the fresh talent added to the long list of performers should satisfy even the most jaded Angelenos. Among the variety of performances are the certifiably awesome Mariachi Divas de Cindy Shea, Quetzal, Gypsy Allstars, Gay Men’s Chorus, and the Grandeza Mexicana Folk Ballet. A slew of local and international artists are performing on the hallowed stage normally reserved for the L.A. Opera or the ballet. The velvet seats, the chandeliers, the whole nine—will make you and your family feel like Santa came early, and the show begins at 3 and goes ‘til 6 –so get in line EARLY to snag your FREE seats.
And free Parking in downtown LA? The biggest miracle of all.
- Aditya Prakash Ensemble* will debut on the Holiday Celebration with a celebratory performance blending classical Indian music with jazz and Latin rhythms.
- ARC Hand Bell Choir will return to the Holiday Celebration stage with traditional holiday repertoire.
- Artemusica*, a 26-member vocal ensemble will perform holiday classics in the Baroque style.
- Ate9 dANCEcOMPANY*, directed by former Batsheva dancer Danielle Agami, will debut on the Holiday Celebration with a modern dance work created for the show.
- Christian’s Community Center Cathedral Choir brings a contemporary flair to the genre of gospel music.
- Colburn Children’s Choir and Young Men’s Chorus, a 50-voice ensemble of the Colburn School of Performing Arts, will perform holiday songs in Hebrew and English.
- Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles will return to this year’s program with traditional holiday repertoire.
- Gypsy Allstars*, featuring the sons of the internationally recognized Gipsy Kings will perform music fusing Spanish rhythms with Eastern influences.
- Grandeza Mexicana Folk Ballet will perform “Quinto Sol”, a dance piece inspired by the Aztec god that celebrates the Aztec roots of Mexican culture.
- Harana Men’s Chorus*, directed by L.A. Master Chorale singer Ed Nepomuceno, will perform seasonal repertoire in English and Tagalong.
- Immaculate Heart of Mary Children’s Choir will perform traditional Filipino songs celebrating the Christmas holiday.
- Invertigo Dance Theatre will perform Mishachah (“family” in Hebrew), a dance portraying a Jewish family in a time of celebration and reflection.
- JazzAntiqua Dance and Music Ensemble will present a jazz dance performance inspired by a classic gospel hymn, “Blessed Quietness”.
- Jung Im Lee Korean Dance Academy will perform a Korean drumming dance in traditional costume.
- Mariachi Divas de Cindy Shea, a Grammy Award-winning female mariachi ensemble, will perform a selection of traditional holiday music in English and Spanish.
- Palmdale High School Choral Union, a 45-person chorus from the Antelope Valley, will present traditional and jazz-style holiday selections.
- Praizum*, a 20-member vocal ensemble, will perform classic gospel hymns and spirituals with a contemporary flavor.
- Quetzal*, a Grammy Award-winning Chicano rock band based in East Los Angeles, will perform songs celebrating the holidays.
- Salvation Army Tabernacle Children’s Chorus, the largest and youngest choir on the program is known for their “choralography” and light-hearted holiday songs.
- Sarah Reich and Tap Music Project* will debut on the Holiday Celebration with a tap dance performance set to live holiday music.
- South Bay Children’s Choir, an 80-voice ensemble, will sing traditional seasonal favorites.
- Doors open at 2:30 p.m. (although the line forms much earlier and entertainment on the Music Center plaza begins at noon.)
- Patrons may come and go throughout the three-hour performance
- Reservations for tickets to the show or parking are not necessary
- Those who can’t make it to The Music Center can watch the live broadcast from 3 p.m.-6 p.m. on KCET-TV or stream it atwww.kcet.org.
The KCET broadcast repeats from 8 p.m.-11 p.m., and again on Dec. 25 at 12 p.m., 3 p.m. and 9 p.m