Many local music fans get into the holiday spirit with a stop at Disney Hall and take in an earful of the sounds of the season. The Los Angeles Master Chorale kicked things off a few weeks back with the “Festival of Cards,” a selection of traditional favorites followed by “Performances: Christmas with Eric Whitacre ” and “Guest Appearances with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Featuring Haydn’s Creation.”
But the grand finale is right around the corner. It’s the “36th Annual Messiah Sing-Along.” For many chorale fans it’s wouldn’t be Christmas without the Messiah. So get your pipes tuned up and head for WDCH on Sunday, Dec. 18.
STARS DANCING IN THE NIGHT
Congrats to Malibu’s Tom Hanks for snagging one of the biggest honors in the land. He was among an elite crowd to be presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Other honorees given the prestigious prize by President Obama included Bruce Springsteen, to whom POTUS quipped, “I am the President, but he is The Boss.” The New Jersey hitmaker was joined by diva Diana Ross and veteran actor Robert De Niro. Also on board this fame train were philanthropists Bill and Melinda Gates. As for sports, you’d find basketball greats Michael Jordon and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. There was even the LA icon and legendary voice of the Dodgers, Vin Scully, who was calling ‘em like he saw ‘em for more than 60 years. It was a lively presentation with rounds of applause and cheers.
Scully, Springsteen and Hanks were joined by actress Cicely Tyson, comedian and smooth mover Ellen DeGeneres, actor Robert Redford, architect Frank Gehry, Vietnam Veteran Memorial designer Maya Lin and “Saturday Night Live” producer Lorne Michaels.
President Obama gave the honorees a first class salute, saying that “everyone on this stage has touched me in a powerful, personal way.”
President Obama, who is known to like a pick-up game or two, lauded the two basketball greats. Abdul-Jabbar and MJ are considered the greatest players of their time. Abdul-Jabbar led the LA Lakers to five championships and helped the Milwaukee Bucks earn another. Jordan also helped his team gain six championships.
Gehry, known as an architectural superstar or “starchitect,” is the imaginative mastermind behind Walt Disney Concert Hall as well as the Pritzker Music Pavilion in Chicago’s Millennium Park.
Other honorees included two giants of science. Awards were given to mathematician and software guru Margaret H. Hamilton and nuclear physicist Richard Garwin. With its satin blue sash and gleaming golden medal, what could be a better stocking stuffer?
So congrats to all and to all a good night.