Never Leave LA

54th Annual LA County Holiday Celebration

The 54th Annual L.A. County Holiday Celebration was a cultural explosion for my dad who just landed in LA from small town Connecticut. We raced downtown to the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion at The Music Center to be escorted to top floor seats of this cultural holiday cheer of singing and dancing. Each performance was unique and kept us engaged due to the variety of intriguing acts. The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has sponsored this admission free show for the people of the County every December 24 since 1959.

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Photo credit: Melissa Curtin

This free LA tradition brings together the top performances of more than 20 music ensembles, choirs and dance companies from the many neighborhoods and cultures of Los Angeles. This three-hour holiday show delighted our senses. Some of our favorites included the Gay Men’s Choir gleeful tunes and movements singing “Sparkle, holly, twinkle, jingly!,” the Filipino Children’s Choir, vibrant jazz dancers, and the moving mellow rock band Quetzal with their cello and violin showcasing a song about losing a job two weeks before Christmas while a video backdrop snowed romantically behind them.

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The moving mellow band Quetzal. (Photo credit: Melissa Curtin)

Other highlights included Aditya Prakash Ensemble, blending classical Indian music with jazz and Latin rhythms; the Gypsy Allstars, featuring sons of internationally recognized Gipsy Kings; Grammy Award®-winning Chicano rock band Quetzal; and Grammy Award®-winning Mariachi Divas de Cindy Shea.

Dance highlights included Ate9 dANCEcOMPANY, directed by former Batsheva dancer Danielle Agami; JazzAntiqua Dance and Music Ensemble, presenting a piece inspired by classic gospel hymn, “Blessed Quietness;” Grandeza Mexicana Folk Ballet, celebrating the Aztec roots of Mexican culture; and Jung Im Lee Korean Dance Academy performing a traditional Korean drumming dance.

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Vibrant dancers that continued to multiply on stage. (Photo credit: Melissa Curtin)

Choral groups singing holiday songs include Artemusica, performing in Baroque style; Colburn Children’s Choir and Young Men’s Chorus, singing in Hebrew and English; Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles; and Immaculate Heart of Mary Children’s Choir, performing traditional Filipino songs.

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Gay Men’s Choir (Photo credit: Melissa Curtin)

The entire show was being filmed in perfect synchronicity and aired live on KCET-TV on Christmas eve. This annual event shows the importance of celebrating the LA community, and for all families to come and enjoy the unique artistic talents of LA’s people for free.

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