Nearly 600 voices gathered to sing Christmas Carols, accompanied by a 50-piece orchestra in Town Square at Disneyland on Saturday night.
They were part of Disneyland’s annual tradition known as the Candlelight Ceremony. The voices were made up of choirs from around California, and employees of the park and Walt Disney Studios.
The event owes its origins to a group of 12 Dickens carolers from USC that sang during the season during the park’s first Christmas season in 1955.
On the opening afternoon, a 300-member choir, made up of choirs from the area, gathered in the central plaza and gave a concert. It was so well-received that the next year it was christened the “Christmas Bowl.”
In 1958, the event was moved to Town Square, but started with a processional down Main Street U.S.A. with a mass of 16 choirs from around the area.
It evolved into a bigger ceremony in 1961 with the addition of a celebrity narrator telling the story of the first Christmas and some members of the nearly 600-voice choir forming “The Living Christmas Tree.”
The first narrator was Dennis Morgan. Others over the years include Dick Van Dyke, John Wayne, Cary Grant, Rock Hudson, James Earl Jones and many more. This year’s narrator was Ginnifer Goodwin, star of “Once Upon a Time” and “Zootopia.”
The choirs still proceed down Main Street U.S.A. to Town Square, singing carols as they walk and taking their positions on the risers in front of the Main Street Station of the Disneyland Railroad and becoming the Living Christmas Tree. Besides the orchestra, there are also 8 fanfare trumpeteers, a guitar soloist and four other soloists.
Choirs performing in the show have to audition, then take part in rehearsals in the weeks leading up to the first weekend in the December, when the ceremony is held with four performances over two nights.
In 2012, Disneyland tried to have more performances, 20 nights in a row, but decided that the impact on the park was too much and went back to the two-night event.
The seating area is generally reserved for invited guests from local charities that Disney contributes to, and other special guests.
Source: OC Register
Banner Photo Credit: OC Register