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Singing Christmas Tree and the Jefferson Dancers

55th annual show has all new lineup

Pierce Girkin | 11/28/2017, 4:26 p.m.
Portland's Singing Christmas Tree is lighting up Keller Auditorium for its 55th season with an all-new lineup of songs and ...
Portland’s Singing Christmas Tree is a 350-voice choir performing contemporary and traditional holiday music at the Keller Auditorium with shows continuing through Sunday, Dec. 3.

Portland's Singing Christmas Tree is lighting up Keller Auditorium for its 55th season with an all-new lineup of songs and performances, as well as some old fan favorites.

The 350-voice choir performs a two-hour show that showcases both contemporary and traditional holiday music with performances Thursday, Nov. 30 through Sunday, Dec. 3 at Keller Auditorium.

The production will also include dance numbers by the Jefferson Dancers, special performances by local actors and musicians, and a cinematic "living nativity" - a Hollywood-esque version of the story of the birth of Jesus Christ.

No production of the Singing Christmas Tree is identical year-to-year, said Wes Walterman, director and CEO of Portland's Singing Christmas Tree. Walterman spends countless hours during the off-season making sure each year's show is new and exciting.

The Singing Christmas Tree held its debut performance at Benson Polytechnic High School in 1962 with a modest budget of $500. Since then, the show has grown substantially, and has had to relocate multiple times to accommodate increasing audience sizes. In 1968, the Singing Christmas Tree settled into Keller Auditorium, and has been there ever since.

In the spirit of holiday charity, the Singing Christmas Tree organization makes sizeable donations to various youth programs and high school music programs, including Doernbecher Children's Hospital, the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, and the Snowman Foundation.

Despite many of the show's explicitly religious themes, the organizers and producers of the Singing Christmas Tree have made great efforts to foster inclusivity among religious and secular audience members.

The second half is more religious in nature, with a live-scored nativity performance and a handful of gospel tunes. The "cinematic nativity,” as the producers call it, may be the crown jewel of the Singing Christmas Tree.

Tickets for Portland's Singing Christmas Tree are on sale now through Portland'5 Centers for the Arts website.

Pierce Girkin is a writer from Metro.