LANCASTER – A festive array of live musical performances, a host of fun-filled children’s activities and more than 1,000 crèches from all over the world are just a few of the highlights attendees can expect at the 21st annual Christmas Crèche Art & Music Festival this year.
The event started Friday, Dec. 5, and will run through Monday, Dec. 8, at the Lancaster East Stake Center, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, located at 44330 27th Street East in Lancaster.
Organizers held a news conference Friday morning to announce this year’s musical lineup and to encourage the entire community to attend the free holiday event.
“There’s something for everyone to see here,” said Debbie Dino, Public Affairs Director, Palmdale congregations. “It does not matter what faith [you are]… This is the time for the season, and we look forward to seeing you here.”
The four-day festival, which begins at noon each day, features one of the largest displays of nativity scenes in the western United States and more than 50 live musical performances from a wide range of choral groups, musicians, soloists and orchestras.
A variety of children’s activities will be available in a designated Children’s Room. These will include costumes and props to re-enact the Nativity scene, nativity-themed puzzles and games, and other activities.
Friday evening’s festivities will include the annual High School Choral Festival. The highly-anticipated performance features the vocal music programs from Highland, Lancaster, Palmdale, Pete Knight and Quartz Hill High Schools, according to organizer Michael Bernard.
“The program will conclude with a grand finale rendition of Processional of the Invited performed by a mass chorus of 450 of our students and conducted by Mr. Aaron Foley, vocal music director of Quartz Hill High School,” Bernard said, adding that the chorus will be accompanied by the 75-piece Quartz Hill High School symphonic band. “It’s a free event to the public and space is limited to the first 1,500 concert goers,” Bernard said.
The annual High School Choral Festival begins at 7 p.m., Friday, Dec. 5, with other musical performances beginning at noon and continuing throughout the afternoon and evening.
Saturday will feature another full day of performances to include the Oliver Handbell Choir at 1 p.m., the Lancaster United Methodist Church Chancel Choir at 1:30 p.m., and the AV Children’s Choir at 4:30 p.m. “We are so honored and privileged to have such talent in this Valley,” Dino said.
“If you have never seen the Sunday Night Singers, they are an award-winning choir. They are something to be seen,” Dino said. “Again, this is all for free.”
At 5 p.m. Sunday, attendees will enjoy the Messiah Sing-Along, which provides an opportunity for attendees to get into the Christmas spirit by joining in.
Monday features more musical performances, beginning at noon and ending at 4 p.m.
Other performers throughout the festival will include Sacred Heart Children’s Choir and Bell Choir, Donna O Studios, AV Jazz Ensemble, Summerwinds Woodwind Quintet, Linda Bowling and Friends, Edwards Singers and many more.