Giving gift of song

The Los Angeles County Holiday Celebration is not your average concert.

The six-hour musical spectacular will feature 45 musical groups representing a wide range of ethnic groups that make up Los Angeles County.

Burbank and La Crescenta-based groups are among those that will represent the county, said Laura Zucker, executive director of the Los Angeles County Arts Commission who is also executive producer. Others will come from all over, from the Antelope Valley to Long Beach and from Santa Monica to Riverside to join the performance on the stage of Dorothy Chandler Pavilion at the Music Center.

"How often can you be paid to perform on one of the country's world-class stages with all the technical support in the world to an adoring packed house?" asked Zucker, who has been the show's producer for 15 years.

The groups that participate receive an honorarium and individuals of the groups who are members of the musicians or acting unions receive a fee.

"We are the arts commission, so we believe in paying artists," she said.

This is the first year the Burbank Chorale and Djanbazian Dance Company of La Crescenta will appear in the show, she said.

"One of the things that amazes me is that every year, when we look around, we discover new groups, some of which, like these two, have been around for a long time," Zucker said. "We just haven't connected. So that's very exciting for us."

This is the first time in its 80-year existence the Burbank Chorale will perform in such a huge venue, director Mikhail Shtangrud said.

"It makes me feel great," he said. "It's a great achievement. The chorale has applied in the past and this is the first time the chorale has been accepted."

The Djanbazian Dance Company is sending a troupe of eight dancers to perform "Love Dance," a classical lyrical Persian dance, said Anna Djanbazian, artistic director and choreographer.

The dancers, who are dressed as angels, act out the story of transforming a mean monster to love through a magic potion placed on a fabric, she said.

"At this time in the world, everybody needs love instead of war," Djanbazian said.

The Mariachi Divas of Burbank have been on the show for several years, Zucker said. They opened the show last year and they are closing the show this year, she said.

"Although they have mariachi in their name, it's part Latin, part swing, a great fusion sound, and as one would think by the name divas, it's all women of many different backgrounds culturally," she said.

"They are going to be playing songs from their recently released Christmas album."

The performance will be broadcast live on public television station KCET Channel 28, Zucker said.

For those who attend, performance, admission and parking are free, Zucker said.

"To be in the hall and feel the coming together of all the diverse cultural streams in L.A. is a real exhilarating experience, which is why we have had many families attending the performance for more than 40 years," she said.

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