We watched the 91st Annual National Christmas Tree lighting on Friday, Dec. 6 out in the constant drizzle. The preshow started at 4:30 but to get through security people were arriving mainly between 3 and 4 pm. The National Park Service gave out about 17,000 tickets but couldn't say exactly how many people showed up. The place initially seemed filled but by the end, the SRO and back sections emptied out as we all got cold and wet.
The show was supposed to end by 6 but went on till 6:30. We enjoyed hearing everyone from Train to Aretha Franklin, Forte, Renee Fleming and other stars. Mariah Carey came out to sing the finale. As is tradition, the president came out with his family to light the national tree. And as she has done before, First lady Michelle Obama read The Night Before Christmas in a duet with a puppet.
You can watch the show at www.thenationaltree.org.
None of the acts got to sing more than one or two songs –except the phenomenal opening act. Rather than focus on the major stars, this column will give a nod to the opening performance, which nearly stole the show. Before the first family and major stars came on and the live TV stream, the crowd heard a fantastic up-and-coming act we'd be lucky to hear again. Aberdeen Green, a vocal duo, performed with the assistance of a lead guitarist and percussionist. The act knocked out the audience with imaginative performances of O Come, O Come Emmanuel, a medley of My Favorite Things/Go Tell It on the Mountain, plus a unique Xmas version of the classic Shenandoah. (The singers come from the Shenandoah Valley.) You can view the performance on the website but you must click on the preshow and listen through the introductory blabbering.
The pair is scheduled to release it's first album in January. You can check the act out at http://www.aberdeengreenmusic.com/. They can do creative new things with an old song.