Wednesday, November 14, 2018
At the Top Of Those Iconic Steps: A Glittering Dazzler!
The public is invited to kick off the holidays at the annual Philadelphia Museum of Art Tree Lighting celebration on the East Terrace. On Wednesday, November 21, well-wishers will enjoy live music and complimentary warm beverages starting at 5:00 p.m. as the Museum prepares for a dramatic countdown – the electrifying moment around 5:50 p.m. when 12,000 LED lights adorning a beautiful and imposing 55-foot-tall white fir will sparkle against the skyline.
The Tree Lighting headlines the Museum’s holiday program, which continues through the close of 2018 with events ranging from ugly sweater-making and caroling through the galleries to a Hanukkah party and a Feliz Navidad fiesta.
“What better way to usher in the holidays than to join us here at the Museum,” said Timothy Rub, the George D. Widener Director and CEO, who will lead the countdown. “The Tree Lighting on the East Terrace is classic Philadelphia, and each year the crowd, including a lot of families, grows larger. It’s such a delight to greet visitors indoors following the countdown as the season of lively holiday events gets underway. Bring your ugly sweater—I’ll certainly be wearing mine!”
The York Street Hustle will return this year to perform for the Tree Lighting. At 6:00 p.m., the Museum will welcome visitors indoors to enjoy the galleries and public spaces adorned with seasonal decorations, along with options for festive food and beverage. The Sister Cities Girlchoir will break into song in the Great Stair Hall and the Museum will remain open until 8:45 p.m. The Tree-Lighting on the East Terrace is free and admission to the Museum on Wednesday evenings is pay-what-you-wish. Visitors will also receive a 20 percent discount at the Museum Store.
"York Street Hustle is delighted that the PMA has invited us back to perform at this year's tree lighting,” said Trumpeter and Arranger Vince Tampio. “Our soulful holiday favorites feel larger than ever whenever we perform at this great location looking out from the Art Museum to the city skyline." Alysia Lee, founder of the Sister Cities Girlchoir, added: “The Tree-Lighting is an iconic part of the holiday season in Philadelphia, and the girls are so excited to bring their unique blend of songs of empowerment, celebration and meditation. It is a dream come true for them to perform at the Tree Lighting and we’ll include songs by Donald Lawrence, MaMuse and Huddie ‘Leadbelly’ Ledbetter.” Each year, the holiday tree provides a magnificent spectacle overlooking the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Planning for its placement requires careful coordination.
The Philly-bound evergreen makes a 300-mile trip, wheeling in from Hornell, New York, on a flatbed truck. The 7500-pound tree is craned upright upon a platform; it is then unwrapped, branching out to a 25 foot-wide-spread. Next, it is adorned in thousands of lights, each one at.144watts, all powered by (2) 20amp circuits. High on the apex of the tree, the star is placed, measuring 6 feet in diameter and containing 175 lights itself.
Acquiring and installing the tree and generating the lighting would not be possible without spirited support. The Museum is grateful to IBEW Local 98, Dougherty Electric, Inc., and PMC Property Group for its continued support in providing decorations, electricity and labor, and for the assistance of L.F. Driscoll and Dan Lepore & Sons Company, Inc. The Museum offers additional thanks to Eastern Scaffold & Shoring, Inc. (platform); Amquip (crane); Brands Imaging (decorative wrap); Interstate Aerials (high reaches); Yule Tree Farm (tree); and WLX, LLC. (transportation).