The AT&T Performing Arts Center is sparkling with almost 40,000 lights to celebrate the month long Holiday at the Center, and thousands of visitors kicked off the season with a tree lighting festival on Friday, December 2nd.
KLUV radio personality Jody Dean was the master of ceremonies for the evening, which included performances by the Dallas String Quartet, Jaime Reyes Jazz Trio, Power House of Dance, the Cathedral Boys and Girls Choir and the St. Paul United Methodist Church Choir. The evening also featured a special performance by Jersey Boys cast member Courter Simmons, who crooned lll Be Home For Christmas to the excited crowd. The Centers president and CEO Mark Weinstein was on hand to greet the crowd, and the Centers Dana Cobb and Dallas Arts Districts Veletta Lill shared highlights of the many performances in the coming month.
The highlight of the evening was the lighting of the 30-foot tall tree with its 16,000 lights, which sat in the center of the Donor Reflecting Pool. To flip the switch, Jody Dean was joined by City Manager Mary Suhm (her second year lighting the holiday tree) and the Sugar Plum Fairy, played by Betsy McBride, a cast member of the Texas Ballet Theaters The Nutcracker. Also on stage were several children, as well as Dallas City Councilmembers Ann Margolin, Delia Jasso, Jerry Allen, Linda Koop and Monica Alonzo.
In addition to the performances, children sat down for free pictures with Santa Clause, enjoyed a free arts and crafts area and fun tables set up by the Center and its resident companies. The Dallas Arts District also made sure the popular food trucks were on hand, as well as free horse drawn carriage rides. The Centers campus never looked better for the holidays. 32 trees, inside and out, were lit with 23,500 lights. In addition, the Wyly Theatre glowed with giant floating snowflakes projected from below and artist Shane Pennington unveiled his ice sculpted art installation Transcendence, which transformed an empty lot across Flora Street into a chilly Zen garden.
The Festival highlighted a series of Center holiday shows which include The Nutcracker, The Charlie Daniels Band Holiday Show, Linda Eder, Dallas Theater Centers A Christmas Carol (at Kalita Humphries Theater) Dallas Black Dance Theatres Winter Series, Shen Yun, the Womens Chorus of Dallas Peace On Earth, The Second City Dysfunctional Family Revue, and Les Miserables.
Holiday at the Center is sponsored by Capital One Bank, Michaels and Magic Moments.