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.”
“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.