A 50-foot-tall Christmas tree, singers and a bell choir light up downtown LA

California

A crowd let out “oohs” as 3,500 colorful lights adorning the 50-foot-tall Christmas tree suddenly turned on, ushering in the official 2023 Los Angeles County tree lighting on Monday, Nov. 27. Dozens of celebrators gathered around the base of the tree at the Jerry Moss Plaza in downtown Los Angeles between the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion and Ahmanson Theater in front of The Los Angeles Music Center.

Some in the crowd were sipping free hot cocoa and munching on snacks. They showed their appreciation for the coordinated sound of hand-held bells and chimes from 15 student performers from the Valley Christian High School Handbell Choir based in Cerritos on the Los Angeles County-Orange County border. The handbell choir played holiday favorites from “White Christmas” to “Jingle Bell Rock” and “Carol of the Bells.”

  • Visitors gather on the steps to the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion...

    Visitors gather on the steps to the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion to look at the tree county Christmas tree which was lit in a ceremony Monday, November 27, 2023. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Children play in the lights at the LA County Tree...

    Children play in the lights at the LA County Tree lighting ceremony outside of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion Monday, November 27, 2023. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Valley Christian Handbell Choir from Cerritos performs at the...

    The Valley Christian Handbell Choir from Cerritos performs at the LA County Tree lighting ceremony outside of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion Monday, November 27, 2023. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Visitors check out the LA County Christmas tree outside of...

    Visitors check out the LA County Christmas tree outside of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion Monday, November 27, 2023. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Students from the Adderley School for the Performing arts perform...

    Students from the Adderley School for the Performing arts perform at the LA County Tree lighting ceremony outside of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion Monday, November 27, 2023. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Christmas tree display outside of the Mark Taper Forum...

    The Christmas tree display outside of the Mark Taper Forum Monday, November 27, 2023. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

“They are part of a class before school that meets twice a week at 7 a.m.,” said Leneé Struiksma, the handbell choir director.

Also performing was the Adderley Advanced Conservatory Singers from Pacific Palisades, led by mother and daughter directors Janet and Alana Adderley. Rounding out the evening was the classic sound of the Mariachi Hecho en Mexico, a five-member band based in Long Beach. The annual event has been going for more than 25 years. At the adjoining marketplace organized by the South Gate Museum and Art Gallery, revelers made holiday cards, candles and mixtapes.

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